The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a new secretary and a new head of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) implementation.
The HHS PPACA exchange program has overcome Republican opposition and severe technical problems to rack up huge sales. Whatever weaknesses HHS might have, it’s a great rainmaker.
But the latest HHS “issue brief” on how great individual qualified health plan (QHP) competition will be at the exchanges in 2015 seems to be a troubling continuation of the old, Stalinesque approach to public exchange program communications.
On the one hand, sure, HHS is playing a tough, complicated political and budgeting campaign, and maybe, from a strategic perspective, its officials are right to be careful about how they release information.
But, on the other hand, during the 2013 -2014 QHP open enrollment period, HHS officials were so stingy with the kind of information that exchange officials in Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon posted by the crate full that it seemed as if they were just trying to cover up the grim reality that maybe they had no information to provide.
The Republicans recently published an attack document of their own in which they quote one unhappy HHS employee telling another HHS employee in a totally unwise e-mail that the other employee’s bosses just wanted to hear about “rainbows and unicorns.”