Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner weathered her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee without taking much of a beating from the committee's Republicans, who remain opposed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and have raised concerns about the way the CMS is implementing its provisions. Here's a blow-by-blow of this morning's hearing from Modern Healthcare reporter Rich Daly.
12:42 p.m. EDT The hearing is adjourned.
12:12 p.m. EDT Despite the urging of Finance Committee Chairman Baucus, Tavenner rejects the idea of setting a target date for Medicare to end fee-for-service payments for the vast majority of providers. She adds, however, the CMS could expedite some payment reform initiatives in outpatient settings.
11:59 a.m. EDT Tavenner stresses that "we haven't approved anything" for Arkansas or any of the "handful" of states seeking premium-assistance alternatives to expanding Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.
11:53 a.m. EDT The CMS won't release premiums for health plans until late August or September, Tavenner says. However, she commits to provide the Finance Committee with biweekly updates on enrollment in the exchanges.
11:28 a.m. EDT Tavenner says she disagrees with a recent study by the Society of Actuaries that predicted the ACA's insurance requirements will trigger large premium increases in the individual market. Among the reasons the study was inaccurate, Tavenner says, is that it failed to consider government subsidies that will help many people defray the costs.