The Art of Talking Around Medicaid and Transparency

This morning Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, met with the US Senate Finance Committee. At that time she was asked to address many issues pertaining to PPACA and Fiscal Year 2012. You can watch the entire video here.  

As always, Secretary Sebelius managed to talk for over an hour and never actually address questions posed by the Senate. Senator Hatch (R-UT) referred to a letter he and Senator Enzi (R-WY) wrote to Secretary Sebelius recently calling for more openness in the Department’s dealings on health care reform. This sadly comes after several attempts by Governors and Senators to get Sebelius and the administration to do the same thing.

In the letter produced by Enzi and Hatch were many examples of how the current administration has neglected to follow through on their claims of transparency:

We remain disappointed that many of our requests for information are not receiving timely responses.  Your Department has failed to schedule regular briefings with the Committees of jurisdiction regarding ongoing implementation activities.  While the Department frequently makes HHS senior staff available to brief the media on new Administration regulations and reports, the Department has ignored multiple requests for Congressional briefings on the same topic.  The Department has also failed to provide any responses to Member questions that were submitted for the record at both HELP and Finance Committee hearings that were held in January and February.

Sen. Hatch further asserted during the Senate Finance Committee that the administration had used “smoke and mirrors in the budget” and called out Secretary Sebelius, specifically pointing out her failure to:

  1. Give states flexibility in health reform
  2. Respond to Governors requests for information and freedom from maintenance of effort provisions in PPACA
  3. Eliminate the 4,700+ bureaucratic positions that will be created within the next two years
  4. Save the estimated 800,000 jobs that will be lost according to the CBO

Nicole Fisher

Nicole Fisher is a current PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina in the Health Policy and Management Department. She also currently writes health care policy for t...

Reader Comments