Committee Presses Obama Administration for Overdue Answers on Employer Mandate Delay

August 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders yesterday sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew again requesting information on the administration’s sudden July 4th holiday decision to delay the health care law’s employer mandate for one year. The committee sent a letter to the Treasury Department on July 3 and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing soon thereafter with Mark Iwry, senior advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy at the Department of the Treasury. At the hearing and in responses to the committee’s requests, the administration has failed to provide answers and basic information about the process that was used to postpone certain health law requirements on employers but not individuals.

In the letter to Secretary Lew, the committee leaders write, “While we appreciate your quick response to our letter and your providing a witness for the hearing, both the testimony of Mr. Iwry and your July 9 letter failed to address several of the committee’s questions about Treasury’s decision to delay the employer mandate. For example, representatives from both Treasury and the White House have stated publicly that the decision to delay the employer mandate was made after engaging in a dialogue with businesses. Our July 3 letter requested information on these meetings and discussions, and Treasury has yet to provide this information. Further, at our July 18 hearing, Mr. Iwry was not able to provide specific answers to our questions about the decision to delay the employer mandate, including the record before Treasury that convinced the department that a one-year delay was appropriate, which departments reviewed the decision, Treasury’s statutory or constitutional authority to act, and whether Treasury also considered a delay of the individual mandate.”  

The committee is seeking information to better understand the administration’s decision making process, who was involved in the decision, data explaining the cost of the mandate on businesses, and “All memoranda or analyses referring or relating to the costs or penalties for individuals under the PPACA that have been prepared for or by Treasury.”  

The letter was signed by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees.

The leaders set a September 6, 2013, deadline for the Treasury Department to comply. Read the letter here.

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