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Critics say missed deadlines and other signs show the Obama administration is stumbling out of the gate on its early steps to implement the president’s health-care law.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has already missed as many as four deadlines under the law – not on any major regulations — but still a worrying trend, critics say.
Congressional staff and industry representatives have also been asking HHS for a timeline specifying when it will issue the numerous regulations required by the law. They were shocked to find the agency has not produced such a document, one aide said.
The issue is important because vast industry sectors are trying to plan their own implementations of the health-care law and most of the details remain in bureaucrats’ hands, leaving a vacuum of uncertainty about the final burdens the law will impose.
The missed deadlines include creating task forces on breast cancer and Alaskan health care, publishing a list of new authorities granted under the law, and setting a schedule for a Government Accountability Office study and financial audit....
“Now it looks like the simplest job assigned to the Obama administration – outlining its own new authorities and responsibilities — was so daunting that HHS decided just to reprint the table of contents from the new law until they can sort things out,” said Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, a key Republican on health-care issues. “It’s troubling because, if they can’t even explain what they are supposed to do, how do we expect them to actually manage a sixth of the economy?”
While missing the deadlines, the administration has found time to send promotional material touting the law’s benefit, including a brochure for senior citizens and post cards from the IRS advertising tax breaks under the law.