November 06,2013

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Baucus Pushes Administration to Fix Health Insurance Marketplaces as Quickly as Possible

Finance Chairman: This is a Good Law. We Need to Make Sure Americans Can Access the Health Insurance They Need and Deserve

WASHINGTON –In a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said the administration must keep up its efforts and fix the health insurance marketplaces as soon as possible.  The Senator told Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Administration must keep pushing and focus on repairing the marketplaces to guarantee uninsured Americans get access to high-quality coverage.

“It’s been a rocky rollout for the insurance marketplaces.  Let me say right off the bat – this is unacceptable.  But now it’s time to move forward and fix,” Senator Baucus said. “Secretary Sebelius, it’s very clear to me that you’re working as hard as you can to get the website running at full speed.  Keep at it."

Senator Baucus asked Secretary Sebelius to address the feasibility of deactivating and making all necessary fixes at once – a proposal other members of Congress have made.  Secretary Sebelius said that updating the website on a rolling basis is preferable because it allows repairs to be made in batches while consumers continue to register for insurance.

Senator Baucus highlighted the marketplaces’ importance to the overall Affordable Care Act, noting that they must be running at full capacity for the millions of Americans without insurance coverage to enroll in affordable plans.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated seven million consumers will get insurance from the marketplaces in 2014, and after ten years, that number will grow to 24 million.

The marketplaces also guarantee that insurance plans include a minimum level of coverage, which means they no longer can exclude coverage for services such as childbirth and cancer treatments.  Additionally, marketplace plans will have no annual or lifetime caps, and consumers can no longer be denied access due to preexisting conditions.

When this law was created, we made a promise to the American people,” Senator Baucus told Secretary Sebelius.  “We made a promise to fix a broken system. We made a promise to ensure that all Americans had access to quality, affordable health care.  We made a promise to ensure that no one ever went broke just because they got sick. You, Madam Secretary, must make good on that promise.”