Two House committee chairmen are hoping the third time’s the charm when it comes to requesting interviews with Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service officials about the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction program.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) sent a letter – the third this year – to both HHS and the Treasury Department seeking interviews with four employees at each agency to learn more about the Obama administration’s payments to insurance companies from a fund allocated for tax credits after Congress denied a requested appropriation for such payments. The request was made in 2013.
“The Committees seek to fully understand the facts that led to the administration’s initial request for an annual appropriation to fund the CSR program payments to insurers, and the administration’s subsequent actions, after Congress had rejected the appropriation request, to nevertheless pay insurers with funds from the permanent appropriation for tax refunds and credits,” the letters read. “Congress has a constitutionally-based responsibility to oversee all aspects of the administration’s actions related to the CSR program.”
The previous letters were sent in February and July and said that if the agencies don’t respond or schedule interviews, the two House committees “will have no choice but to resort to compelled process.”