Federal health exchange officials too busy to worry about Supreme Court

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Teresa Miller, a key advisor in the federal office creating health exchanges, said she and her colleagues are too busy implementing the federal health reform law to worry about how the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on it.

Asked during a panel discussion on health reform in Annapolis, Md., how federal officials might deal with the Supreme Court ruling the law unconstitutional, Miller said, “We are just concentrating on implementing the law.”

The former Oregon insurance commissioner who serves as a senior advisor to Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said “tight deadlines” require the focus, pointing out that all states must receive conditional approval for their planned state health exchanges by Jan. 1, 2013, and must be enrolling people Oct. 1, 2013, for January 2014.

“Frankly, we don’t have time to think about anything else,” Miller said at the Maryland Expo, an industry event held in Annapolis by the Maryland Association of Health Underwriters and the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Larsen, former Maryland insurance commissioner, was supposed to participate in the panel discussion, but Miller spoke in his place.

“We are trying to keep our eye on the ball,”added Miller, who joined the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services in July 2008 and served as insurance administrator, the top job, from November 2008 to Nov. 23, 2011.

The office continues to work despite the fact that the Supreme Court could rule in late June or early July that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, potentially nullifying the work of Miller and other federal officials implementing the law since its passage in March 2010.

 

 

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