A key Democratic congressman said Thursday it is “a little crazy” for House Republicans to criticize the Obama administration’s efforts to implement and education the public about the federal health care law, considering they’ve denied it funding and try to dismantle it at every turn.
New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on health, made his comments at a budget hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, after subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, argued “the law is simply not working as advertised.”
Mrs. Sebelius said her department was disappointed that Congress did not allocate funds during talks on a 2013 short-term spending bill to help them educate Americans about the law.
Mr. Pitts said the employer mandate in the president’s Affordable Care Act, which requires firms of more than 50 full-time employees to offer adequate health insurance or pay steep penalties, is already forcing companies to freeze hiring or cut hours, even though the mandate doesn’t take effect until 2014.
“We should not tolerate a government law that makes it harder for our constituents to find and keep a full-time job,” he said.
Mrs. Sebelius said there is nothing in the law that would force employers to cut hours in 2013. She also tried to correct the record on reports that the insurance market places, or “exchanges,” for small businesses called for in the new law will be delayed.
Employers will be able to choose from multiple plans on the business exchanges in 2014, she said.
However, a second-tier aspect that allows employers to offer more choices to their employees will be delayed for one year in exchanges that are run by the federal government, Mrs. Sebelius said.