Bickering Delayed HHS Integration With Exchanges


Internal agency bickering finalized the delay in the employer mandate announced this week — but it will be resolved by next year, report HPM sources who were on the list of attendees at key HHS meetings on the topic in recent weeks. The IRS staff objected to the way the data hub at HHS was constructed at the meetings, and other agencies including DOL also argued against launching the site this year.

The announcement of the delay cited the inability to determine family income as a major reason for the decision to defer to state discretion and voluntary reporting. That is considered a pure smokescreen by insiders at the intra-agency meetings. HHS was considering the delay over a year ago, but waited to make the decision.

Despite extreme criticism by Republicans, the two major delays for fiscal 2014 were not related to technology design or build issues, but budgeting priorities and rollout timing within HHS and IRS, the source reports. IRS and DOL argued successfully that the funding for a 2013 rollout of income and eligibility standards greatly exceeds the actual subsidies paid. A year from now the picture will be total different: all three agencies are expected to build exchange funding into their January OMB requests.

© 2013 Interpro Publications Inc., Washington D.C.