The man who used to be in charge of implementing Obamacare has launched a lawsuit seeking to solve a big secret of its upcoming open-enrollment period: what insurers propose to charge customers in premiums next year.
The suit charges that the Department of Health and Human Services is violating the Affordable Care Act by not yet revealing those proposed rates, despite the fact that 2015 plans go on sale Nov. 15 on government-run exchanges, including the federally run HealthCare.gov.
The action was filed Tuesday in federal court in Missouri by Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Angoff, who in 2010 was head of the HHS Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight—the office responsible for implementing the ACA. Angoff also served as a senior advisor to former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"We're not opponents of the ACA, we're supporters of the ACA," Angoff said of himself and his clients, the Consumers Council of Missouri, a public interest nonprofit group. "We're not haters of HHS, we're lovers of HHS."
"But this is tough love," he quipped about the lawsuit, which was reported earlier Wednesday by The Washington Post.
The Consumers Council noted in the suit that, in a formal Freedom of Information Act request filed Aug. 20, it had sought information from HHS about the rates proposed by issuers in Missouri. That same request asked for the identities of the insurers, as well as their rationale for the proposed rates, and asked that the response be expedited.
While HHS acknowledged receiving the request, it has still not provided those records, despite the fact that the FOIA law mandates that a response be made within 20 working days, the suit claims.
The suit can be read here: Consumers Council of Missouri v. Department of Health and Human Services.