Exchange Information Disclosure Act
Among other ObamaCare delays, it took the government nearly two months to announce any statistics on exchange enrollment. Since then, information about the healthcare marketplaces has become more available.
The glitches experienced on the federal website and other enrollment troubles have led the House of Representatives to pass a bill bringing health reform transparency to a new level. The Exchange Information Disclosure Act was passed on January 16, 2014, requiring the Obama administration to release weekly updates on the exchanges, the health law, and HealthCare.gov.
Initially viewed as an attack on health reform by the GOP, eventually Democrats agreed with the bill. 33 Democratic representatives supported the act in the final vote.
According to Republican officials, weekly updates were necessary because the administration previously only gave about one update per month. Providing more regular updates on enrollment figures could help estimate potential premium inflation and other details.
The White House did not agree with this bill, or a similar one asking the administration to inform visitors to the federal website if their information had been stolen. However, the administration didn’t say it would veto the bills either.
The Exchange Information Disclosure Act requires a state-by-state breakdown tallying the site’s visitors each week, indicating how many created an account, and the number of people choosing a policy and enrolling.
The bill would also require updates on the ObamaCare website’s functionality, as it endured numerous technical errors since its launch.
Proponents of the bills suggest that the information could indicate whether or not certain providers are available through health plan networks, or that premiums could drastically increase. Having this insight in advance could prove beneficial for providers, insurers, consumers and politicians.
As the federal agencies in charge of the health law stressed the importance of transparency throughout its implementation, those irked by the Affordable Care Act became adamant that more details on enrollment be provided.
And as members of both parties found the law’s rollout unsettling, being transparent could help the administration regain trust. Yet, it’s still viewed by the HHS as another attempt to derail the health law’s implementation and impact on the large uninsured population.