Lawmaker presses HHS for small-business health insurance data

A top GOP lawmaker pushed the administration Friday to release enrollment data measuring the success of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) under ObamaCare. 

Rep. Sam GravesSam GravesGOP signals infrastructure bill must wait House Republicans work to torpedo Trump’s air traffic control plan White House works to sell House Republicans on Trump’s air traffic control plan MORE (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, issued a statement expressing frustration that the Department of Health and Human Services has repeatedly failed to provide the requested data.

“It’s astonishing how little information has been disclosed about a law in which the taxpayers are investing billions. What is the Administration hiding?” Graves asked. 

“The mismanagement of the Small Business Health Options program is very frustrating,” Graves added. “The Administration isn’t able to answer even the most basic questions about the program’s enrollment or its progress.” 

The SHOP program allows employers with 50 or fewer employees to enroll their workers into health plans and receive tax credits. 

Earlier this month, Graves wrote a second letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner asking for data on how many businesses and workers have enrolled in the SHOP program and how many workers have paid their premiums.

HHS responded Thursday with general information about the program, but shared no enrollment data or timetable.

“The Department appreciates your concerns about SHOP implementation, and we will continue to work with our federal partners and state agencies to ensure small employers receive accurate, timely, and consistent information about deadlines and requirements,” wrote Jim Esquea, HHS assistant secretary for legislation.

Graves asked for data on the program earlier this year but Kathleen Sebelius, outgoing secretary of Health and Human Services, responded in March saying the figures were not available and the department was still working on gathering the data.