US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

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Health Committee Republicans Call on HHS to Investigate Report that California May Be Concealing Details of Health Exchange Contracts Awarded Using Federal Dollars

Send letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius requesting the agency investigate whether any other state may be concealing details of exchange contracts that award federal dollars

Friday, June 07, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

Washington, D.C., June 7 – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) this week sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, calling for the agency to investigate the recent news report that California may be concealing details of contracts awarded using federal dollars to establish and run its Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange, as well as “whether any other states are concealing the details of exchange contracts awarded using federal dollars.”

The Senators wrote: “As members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), we write to call your attention to a recent news report that California may be concealing the details of contracts awarded using federal dollars to establish and run its Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange. Specifically, the May 9, 2013, Associated Press story entitled “Calif. exchange granted secrecy”states that California may “keep all contracts private for a year and the amounts paid secret indefinitely.” We see no reason why a state that has been awarded nearly $910 million in federal taxpayer dollars should not disclose how that money is being spent once a contract is finalized.”

They added: “The President said on January 20, 2009, that his administration will “ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration.” In accordance with the President’s pledge that his administration would be the most open and transparent in history, we would appreciate your agency investigating this matter, including whether any other states are concealing the details of exchange contracts awarded using federal dollars, and updating the HELP Committee.”

The full text of the letter is below:

June 5, 2013

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC  20201

Dear Madam Secretary:

As members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), we write to call your attention to a recent news report that California may be concealing the details of contracts awarded using federal dollars to establish and run its Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange. Specifically, the May 9, 2013, Associated Press story entitled “Calif. exchange granted secrecy”states that California may “keep all contracts private for a year and the amounts paid secret indefinitely.” We see no reason why a state that has been awarded nearly $910 million in federal taxpayer dollars should not disclose how that money is being spent once a contract is finalized.

The President said on January 20, 2009, that his administration will “ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration.” In accordance with the President’s pledge that his administration would be the most open and transparent in history, we would appreciate your agency investigating this matter, including whether any other states are concealing the details of exchange contracts awarded using federal dollars, and updating the HELP Committee.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

Lamar Alexander                                                                   

Johnny Isakson

Richard Burr

Pat Roberts

Tim Scott

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