Committee Leaders, Members of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Concerned with Lack of Transparency, Implementation Time Line, Delays, and Outside Influence
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today wrote to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, requesting documents and information regarding the administration’s decision to delay full implementation of the health care law’s employer mandate for one year. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), has held a series of hearings on the president’s health care law and will examine the administration’s delay of the employer mandate in the coming weeks.
“Just as the law was crafted out of sight from the American people, the administration is again taking care of some interests behind closed doors while struggling Americans are left to pay for the looming rate shock and grapple with the law’s complex mandates. Despite delays and missed deadlines, administration officials had repeatedly testified before Congress that they were still on schedule to implement the law. Yesterday, they admitted that wasn’t the case, and it’s clear we have no idea the full scope of delays and disarray that may be coming. The American public deserves answers,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
In the letters to the administration, the committee leaders write, “This decision was made after ‘[the administration] heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.’ In the three years since the passage of the PPACA, we have heard similar complaints not only from business owners, but from state leaders, government watchdogs, and individual citizens as well. As the Treasury Department statement makes clear, the administration has been ‘engaging in a dialogue with businesses’ and is pursuing changes in the law’s implementation and requirements based on their feedback. We note that these communications and the decision-making process related to the delay of certain aspects of the law have not been disclosed publicly. The acknowledgement that a delay in the law’s implementation is needed is completely at odds with previous statements made by administration officials.”
The administration’s abrupt decision has raised significant concerns about the full implementation of the law, what components may be delayed next, which parties are being consulted as part of the implementation process, and what the decision-making process is for these major changes to the legislation.
The committee leaders are seeking documents and information “to better understand the process being used by this administration to determining which provisions of the law to implement, on what time-table, and the feedback upon which such decisions are being made.” They have requested information regarding the individuals, companies, and organizations the administration was consulting with regarding the employer mandate and other provisions that may be delayed or modified. The leaders set a July 17, 2013, deadline for the administration to comply.
The letters were signed by:
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA)
House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX)
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX)
Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA)
Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
Read the letters here.