Jun 04 2013
Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said today after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to asking health care companies to support Enroll America, the private group headed by a former Obama Administration official and charged with getting Americans to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), “raises even more ethical and legal questions.”
“That the Secretary of Health and Human Services has now admitted to having pressured the very companies her agency regulates to get behind a non-government group in support of ObamaCare raises even more ethical and legal questions,” said Hatch. “The message being sent by the Obama Administration is get behind this private group run by a former White House staffer and we’ll give you more favorable treatment when it comes to regulations. That’s bullying plain and simple and promotes a ‘pay to play’ environment that undermines the public trust in government.”
During a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing today, Secretary Sebelius said she urged three health care companies – Johnson & Johnson, Ascension Health, and Kaiser Permanente – to support the efforts of Enroll America. The Department of Health and Human Services has regulatory authority over these organizations.
Hatch has launched an effort in Congress seeking answers on the legality of the issue. Last week, Hatch joined Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in calling on the Inspector General of the Health and Human Services Department to launch an investigation into whether such activities violated the law. Senate Finance Committee Republicans, led by Hatch, have separately requested the Secretary provide a top to bottom review of the Department’s decision to move forward with this initiative. Finally, top Senate and House Committee leaders, including Hatch, have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch a separate investigation regarding the legality of this issue.