Commentary

Commentary

Staff Moves, Status of White House Office of Health Reform Could Have Implications for Employers

This week, the White House announced that senior health care advisor, Nancy-Ann DeParle, who has served a valuable quarterback role in coordinating implementation of PPACA by the various departments, has been named Deputy Chief of Staff.  The announcement comes on the heels of media speculation that the Office of Health Reform which she headed may be dissolved, with key staff being assigned to the Departments of HHS, Labor and Treasury, the three agencies responsible for implementing the new law.  Already, DeParle’s former deputy, Mike Hash, has left the White House to become Director of the Office of Health Reform at HHS.  When questioned by reporters about dissolution of the Office, administration officials have been vague, but the development could impact future regulatory activity.  The three agencies have different outlooks about PPACA’s provisions, and DeParle, supported by Hash, has insisted that they consider the views of all stakeholders, including employers.  Given PPACA’s complexity, it has been helpful for the agencies to come together and gain an appreciation for how their single and combined efforts can impact employers providing health benefits.