Committee Ratchets Up Oversight of Office Responsible for Obamacare Implementation

April 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Members of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee today sent a letter to the Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) to request biweekly updates on expenses and enrollment in high-risks pools and the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) that were created in the health care law.

The letter comes after reports and a subcommittee hearing revealed the $5 billion ERRP will soon run out of money after providing funding to unions and fortune 500 companies.  Meanwhile, the $5 billion high-risk pools have significantly lower enrollment numbers than predicted during the health debate. 
The letter reads, "Both programs have had substantial problems since their inception.  The high-risk pools were, according to the Chief Actuary of Medicare and Medicaid, intended to enroll 375,000 individuals in 2010.  According to your testimony, only approximately 12,000 individuals are enrolled in that program.

"Unlike the high-risk pools, demand for the resources of the ERRP has been intense. We are deeply troubled that this program has apparently served as a vehicle to simply hand out taxpayer funds to various corporations and unions that lined up at the trough. It does not appear that HHS instituted any meaningful controls on this program, leading to an incredible waste of taxpayer money."

The letter continued, "The committee is also interested in learning why your office has not imposed some basic administrative requirements on the ERRP that would prevent the wholesale waste of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds."
In the letter, the members requested CCIIO to provide the following information on a biweekly basis:

"¢  Enrollment and expenditures in the high risk pools, including enrollment numbers for each state running their own high risk pools and the enrollment in the federal high risk pool; updated information about the amount of funding utilized by each state and the federal program, and whether this represents a deviation from the spending patterns as originally estimated. 
"¢ Expenditures in the ERRP, including a list of expenditures for the ERRP that includes the total amount given to each plan sponsor and the total amount spent by the ERRP.

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