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House Republicans stay on offensive

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House Republicans pushed forward today with efforts to block the public exchanges and reexamine other Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and other Republicans on the committee asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to tell them how many signed up for coverage since Oct. 1.

So far, the Obama administration has released visit numbers, but no enrollment figures, and some have suggested that, in some states, no one at all enrolled in coverage on the first day, the lawmakers wrote.

“Are website failures preventing enrollment?” the lawmakers asked. “Are consumers balking at the price of coverage?”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the House:

  • Laura Hall Ingram — an Internal Revenue Service official involved with implementing PPACA-related tax program operations – told the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee that the IRS part of the PPACA exchange data hub system is working fine, with good turnaround times. She said the IRS is now working on getting premium tax credit and individual mandate forms, processes and information systems ready for 2015.
  • The House Small Business Committee looked at how the government will count employees when deciding whether employers are subject to the employer coverage mandate rules. Witnesses representing employer groups said the PPACA employer coverage mandate worker counting rules are hurting employers and leading to the loss of full-time jobs. Dean Baker, a witness for the Democrats, said any effect will be much smaller than the effect of minimum wage laws.

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