The House Energy and Commerce Committee has launched an investigation into the Obama administration’s decision to delay the implementation of parts of Obamacare until after the 2014 midterm elections.
Committee leaders fired off letters to administration officials, including Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, demanding they produce internal documents and communications related to the decision.
“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,” Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said in a statement announcing the congressional investigation.
“Despite delays and missed deadlines, administration officials had repeatedly testified before Congress that they were still on schedule to implement the law,” he said. “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.”
In addition to Upton, the committee officials who signed the letters announcing the formal investigation include: the committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA); Health subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA); full committee vice chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) who is the vice chairman of both the Health and Oversight and Investigations subcommittees; the full committee’s chairman emeritus Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX); and Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Billy Long (R-MO), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Pete Olson (R-TX), Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
With a deadline of July 17, the committee leaders asked Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to provide all documents, communications, and details about any companies that were involved in communications with the executive branch about this matter and detailed descriptions of any and all Obama administration officials involved in the matter.
“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,'” the committee leaders wrote in their letters announcing the investigation.
“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,” they explained. “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 statement notes.