By Sam Baker and Elise Viebeck - 10/09/13 10:50 PM EDT
The IRS is apparently having a much easier time implementing ObamaCare than the Health and Human Services Department. Sarah Hall Ingram, who heads the IRS's Affordable Care Act office, testified Wednesday that the IRS's implementation work is "going fine."
While healthcare.gov is still struggling, Hall Ingram said a much bigger, more intricate part of the law's infrastructure is working: the federal data hub. That should come as reassuring news to Democrats and to insurance companies, who had feared that a poorly functioning data hub would prevent consumers from enrolling or receiving tax subsidies to help cover their premiums.
Healthwatch has all the details from Wednesday's testimony.
Wolf'd: Republicans were thrilled Wednesday when CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said the White House should have delayed ObamaCare if it knew healthcare.gov wouldn't work well right out of the gate.
"They had three years to get this ready," Blitzer said. "If they weren't fully ready, they should accept the advice a lot of Republicans are giving them: Delay it a year, get it ready."
BuzzFeed has the video.
Indiana sues over subsidies: Indiana's attorney general is suing the IRS to block ObamaCare's tax subsidies, which it says are being implemented illegally. It's the latest lawsuit focused on the fact that the IRS is making subsidies available to people who buy insurance through the federally run exchange. Critics say subsidies should only be available in state-run exchanges, citing the text of the statute, which refers to subsidies flowing through exchanges "created by the state." Oklahoma has filed a similar lawsuit; if the argument succeeds, it could devastate the healthcare law.
The announcement from Indiana's attorney general is available here.
And here's some background on the legal argument.
Back to the birth control mandate: The socially conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition is urging Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to fight ObamaCare's birth control mandate in any deal to fund the government. The group, headed by Ralph Reed, noted that a spending bill passed by the House on Sept. 29 included a "conscience" provision allowing employers not to cover contraception for female workers if the move would violate their beliefs. That provision was abandoned in later House-passed continuing resolutions, but the Coalition pushed Boehner to make it a priority in upcoming fiscal negotiations.
In abortion-related news, meanwhile, the Susan B. Anthony List endorsed a bill from Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) that would require health plans on the exchanges to prominently disclose if they include abortion coverage.
Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) will hold a press conference on the government shutdown and curbing antibiotic use in agriculture in light of an outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will hold an event on the Affordable Care Act in Pittsburgh with Steelers owner Dan Rooney.
State by state
Ohio's Kasich may expand Medicaid coverage through executive order
New Calif. law expands who can perform abortions
Key details withheld from audit of N.C. Medicaid
Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington / Immucor
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney / Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Vets say health law's device tax is unfair to pets
In shutdown, clinical trial enrollment slows but doesn't halt
UN sued in US court over Haiti's cholera epidemic
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Restrictions on ObamaCare outreach face trouble in Tenn.
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