WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to break the Obama administration’s stonewall on providing information about its unlawful payments to insurance companies, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) recently wrote to Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell seeking transcribed interviews from a handful of IRS and HHS employees. The committees first launched an investigation in February, but the Obama administration has denied repeated requests for information.
The letters follow up on the committees’ oversight efforts on the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) program, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The committee leaders are concerned with payments the administration has made to insurance companies under the health care law from a fund intended for tax refunds after the administration requested – but did not receive from Congress – an appropriation of funding. The Obama administration has paid more than five billion taxpayer dollars to insurance companies under Section 1402 of the health care law, despite lacking the legal authority to make these payments.
In the letters to Lew and Burwell, the chairmen wrote, “The Committees first wrote to you requesting documents and information about the CSR program, including payments to insurers, on February 3, 2015, and reiterated the request for documents on July 7, 2015. To date, the Department has not provided any documents in response to our request.”
They continued, “Congress has a constitutionally-based responsibility to oversee all aspects of the administration’s actions related to the CSR program.” The leaders set a deadline for the transcribed interviews to occur by December 16, 2015. Otherwise, the leaders warned they “will have no choice but to resort to compelled process.”
Read the letters online here.
Read the committee leaders’ initial request from February 3, 2015, here.
Read the committee leaders’ follow up request from July 7, 2015, here.