Lawmaker wants Sebelius to justify PPACA changesNews added by Benefits Pro on May 8, 2014

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By Allison Bell

Sen. Mike Johanns says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is violating a transparency amendment he got into last year's appropriations package.

Johanns, R-Neb., talked about the provision today during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2015 HHS budget request. Fiscal 2015 will start Oct. 1.

Outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was not at the hearing. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the HHS secretary nominee, also skipped the meeting. And Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the HHS agency in charge of implementing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health insurance market provisions, was unable to attend the hearing because her mother died Tuesday evening.

Johanns said the amendment he got into the 2014 appropriations legislation requires HHS to describe in this year's budget request the sources of money it used to pay for the PPACA exchange program and how it used the money.

"I don't think the HHS budget comes close to following those requirements," Johanns said.

Sebelius should have appeared at the hearing to answer questions about exchange program funding and about PPACA implementation, Johanns said.

"This administration has unilaterally delayed or changed parts of the health care law more than 20 times," Johanns said.

Sebelius should answer questions about why she thinks she had the authority to do those things, Johanns said.

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