CHARLESTON - Ten Republican attorneys general, including Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, have asked the administration to support legislation intended to fix start-up problems with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The five-page letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services asking her and President Obama was signed by attorneys general in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, all Republicans. The Republican Party generally has opposed the Affordable Care Act and the 16-day shut down of the federal government was blamed on the Republican Party attempting to undermine the act that was found consitutional by the Supreme Court.
"Advocates and opponents of the Affordable Care Act can agree on one thing: the rollout of the health insurance exchange for individuals has been plagued with unimaginable problems," Morrisey said.
The letter highlights three problems with its implementation: statutory and regulatory delays; significant technological difficulties; and the security of consumers' private information.
The letter cites statutory provisions that have been delayed thus far, including the cap on out-of-pocket expenses, the small business health insurance exchange and the mandate requiring large employers to provide health insurance. After people could not register for health insurance on the government's website, the administration unilaterally decided to postpone the deadline when uninsured citizens had to have insurance or face a penalty on their taxes, the letter said.
In the meantime, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Wednesday was among a group of senators seeking the redefinition of a full-time employee in the Affordable Care Act. Manchin and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; and Lisa Murkowski R-Ark., sent a letter Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray and ranking member Jeff Sessions asking them to address legislation he cosponsored, the Forty Hours is Full Time Act (Senate Bill 1188), in their budget conference.
The senators said a sensible definition of "full-time employee" under the Affordable Care Act was needed, writing "effective health care reform should expand access to coverage, while not inhibiting economic growth. For this reason, we are concerned that the PPACA definition of full time as an employee working just 30 hours a week is too low and out-of-step with standard employment practices in the U.S. today."