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Hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - "FY 2012 HHS Budget and the Implementation of Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152"


Location: Washington, DC

The Subcommittee will come to order.

The Chair will recognize himself for an opening statement.

I would like to welcome our distinguished witness today, the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Madame Secretary, thank you for your time and testimony.
The Department of Health and Human Services is a large department with broad authority and jurisdiction. With the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), we have found there are several sections of this new law that require mandatory funding -- hence, bypassing the normal appropriations process.

Today's hearing will give us a chance to examine these provisions and consider the budgetary implications for implementation and administration of this new law.

One aspect I am concerned with is the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO).

Less than a month after PPACA passed last year, the Department moved regulation of health insurance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where it had been for years, to a new office, OCIIO, which reports directly to the Secretary.

Then, in January of this year, the Secretary announced that OCIIO would be moving and would now be housed at CMS.

This is interesting because OCIIO implements and regulates many of Obamacare's private insurance provisions, and CMS runs the nation's public health programs.

The Office has been in the news lately for granting over 900 waivers to private health plans unable to meet various standards set by Obamacare.
It is important to note that the OCIIO was not authorized nor even mentioned in Obamacare, yet the President's budget request includes a $1billion increase for "program management discretionary administration" at CMS. It appears that this additional $1 billion dollars will be funding OCIIO.
I will be interested in learning more about this new Office and the role it plays. I look forward to seeing more transparency in the Department's budget.

I yield to the Gentlelady from Tennessee, Mrs. Blackburn.

Thank you.

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