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House HIX Testimony Falls on Deaf Ears

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, September 11, 2013

Actually, the questioning from both Republican and Democrats is more like posturing. But in this case the Republican committee members were particularly egregious in their efforts to continue to paint Obamacare as a train wreck.

The four contractors and their reports of success were quickly forgotten as Republicans honed in on Graham and Lenz, who testimonies included some negative statements.

Graham, for instance, stated that while "baseline functionalities will be up and running" the exchanges can expect "a rocky enrollment period as they work to overcome both known and unknown operational challenges."

That's not a huge surprise. Anyone who has survived even a small technology upgrade can attest that glitches and bumps in the road are par for the course.

Lenz stated that his group is working with the administration to iron out the definition of full-time. The PPACA standard of 30 hours is below what most employers consider full-time and is creating "a perverse economic incentive to reduce employee hours." Lenz noted that the administration is willing to work with his group on this issue.

I watched all two hours of the subcommittee hearing and came away with a good feeling about HIX. The vendors gave a thumbs up and even the concerns of Graham and Lenz seemed manageable.

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