One interesting thing about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange program is how it seems to monopolize a great deal of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attention, and certainly a great deal of the attention of the outsiders looking at HHS.
When President Obama announced the departure of outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and his decision to nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be her successor, he struggled to remind the press that HHS has to oversee tasks such as approving drugs and controlling flu outbreaks.
Sebelius’s first task as head of HHS turned out to be fighting a flu outbreak, Obama said.
Obama and Sebelius mentioned the fact that HHS serves the elderly and the disabled, but, in a transcript of the remarks sent out by the White House, they didn’t even use the word “dementia.”
Another interesting thing is that PPACA exchange sales of commercial “qualified health plans” account for just half of the exchanges’ business, and just a tiny percentage of the people enrolled in HHS-run plans.
It was a little sad to see House committees raking Sebelius over the coals for problems at the exchange QHP program at hearing after hearing — and, in many cases, ignoring whatever equally serious problems may exist at Medicare, Medicaid and many other HHS programs.