Committee Launches Probe Following Reports of HHS Soliciting Donations from Companies it Regulates

May 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today expressed concern with recent press reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has solicited funding from private companies to help implement the health care law. According to the Washington Post, the secretary has called health industry executives, community organizations, and church groups to request their assistance to “increase awareness of the law.” Despite HHS’ insistence that the secretary did not directly ask for funds, one source said, “there was a clear insinuation by the administration that the insurers should give financially to the nonprofits.”

In a letter to Secretary Sebelius, full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) expressed concern that HHS is potentially soliciting funds from companies that are simultaneously doing business with HHS. The leaders wrote, “Currently, health insurers are seeking HHS approval to qualify for the health exchanges established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act so that they may attempt to sell their services to the public when enrollment begins in a few months. Your agency also has the power to review the insurance rates that providers wish to charge.”

The leaders requested HHS provide by May 27, 2013, a list of individuals, companies, and organizations that have been received the fundraising pitch, a list of HHS employees that participated, a summary of the communications and information relayed, and detailed information on the funding sources and amount spent/allocated to implement the law.

The leaders also sent letters to several companies that may have been contacted by HHS and requested the companies provide a summary of the communications and the outcome of the conversations.

Click here to view the letters to HHS and the private companies.

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