Key O-Care official headed back to Capitol Hill

A key official involved in ObamaCare's rollout is headed back to Capitol Hill for Republicans' first 2014 hearing on the law.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Deputy Administrator Gary Cohen has testified before lawmakers many times in the last year about the law's implementation. He's also met privately with members to describe the administration's effort to shore up HealthCare.gov and promote the law's benefits with the public.

The hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Oversight subcommittee is scheduled for Jan. 16 and heralds another season of intense Republican inquiry about the law.

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The House GOP has scheduled votes Friday on two bills related to the Affordable Care Act and has vowed more oversight as the enrollment period continues.

While healthcare issues seized Washington's attention last fall, ObamaCare mostly fell from the headlines as problems with HealthCare.gov abated.

Republicans are hoping that the campaign season will refocus attention on stumbles by the administration and shine a harsh light on Democratic incumbents who still back the Affordable Care Act.

"The healthcare law continues to be defined by broken promises, a broken website, skyrocketing costs, and a troubling lack of transparency," said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), chairman of the Oversight panel.

"With Americans now being required to buy unaffordable coverage under this law, getting straight answers from the administration has never been more urgent."

For his part, Cohen has acknowledged that the rollout involved serious problems.

"There's no question that this has been hard for all of us," he told a Dec. 12 summit of health insurers, "and a lot harder than certainly we had hoped."