The House Energy and Commerce Committee has organized some really interesting hearings about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) over the past year.
The hearing organizers on the committee have brought in witnesses who have talked about PPACA implementation glitches and concerns that should be of interest to anyone who is following U.S. health policy, or who wants the economy to run well.
My guess is that some of the organizations setting up health plans through the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program will do a great job, if they get a real chance to bring CO-OP plans to life, but of course Congress should be asking tough questions about a multibillion-dollar loan program.
Along the same lines, house Republicans were right to be asking whether HHS actuaries thought the PPACA Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) voluntary long-term care benefits program would make financial sense. I wish Congress could come up with a compromise law that would help the CLASS program sustainable — and laws that would make private long-term-care insurance more clearly sustainable — but it looks as if the House Republicans were right about the idea that the version of the CLASS program described in PPACA is a mess.
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But the Republican Energy and Commerce leaders and other Republicans in the House have been doing everything they can to strangle PPACA and starve and browbeat the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials since PPACA was passed.