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Secretary Burwell Returns to Capitol Hill After Missing Committee Deadline to Provide Answers on Reinsurance Funds

February 24, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell is set to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal. Her testimony comes after she failed to meet a Ways and Means Committee deadline regarding her Department’s choice to illegally divert funds from the Treasury to pay health insurers.

“The American people continue to pay the price for the President’s failing health care law. HHS’s flagrant violations were part of a concerted effort to keep insurers from exiting the Obamacare exchanges and the American people deserve answers,” Chairman Brady said. “Secretary Burwell had until February 23rd to explain her department’s decision to misuse billions of taxpayer dollars, but she failed to meet the deadline. The Secretary should promptly provide the information we requested.”

On February 9th, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) sent a letter to HHS Secretary Burwell concerning HHS’s illegal diversion of over $1.6 billion from the Treasury to fund the Obamacare Transitional Reinsurance Program. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has found this action to be in conflict with explicit statutory instructions. In the letter, the Chairmen requested documents related to the diversion and for Secretary Burwell to schedule a briefing with Ways and Means Members within two weeks – that is, by February 23, 2016. Neither happened.