House Committee Launches Probe into Decision to Delay Obamacare Employer Mandate

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | July 3, 2013 | 5:14 PM EDT

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have launched an investigation to get answers from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (see letter) and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (see letter) about the implementation of Obamacare and the genesis of the decision to delay full implementation of its employer mandate.

The letter sets a deadline of July 17, 2013 - two weeks from today - for Sebelius and Lew to provide the information. It is signed by 14 Republicans, led by committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) and Vice-Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

In light of the administration's announcement that it would delay the full implementation of the health care law's employer mandate for one year, committee leaders sent letters to HHS and the Treasury Department requesting documents and information regarding the decision.

The letters ask four questions seeking the names of the organizations, individuals, and administration officials who met to discuss the requirement that employers must provide coverage to their employees - and any changes or delays they'd like implemented.

It also asks for "all documents and communications, including e-mail" between administration officials and any individuals, companies, and other organizations seeking changes to the health care law.

A notice on the committee's website explains that the "abrupt decision" to delay implementation raises serious questions about the decision-making process and the parties who influenced it:

"The administration's abrupt decision has raised significant concerns about the full implementation of the law, what components may be delayed next, which parties are being consulted as part of the implementation process, and what the decision-making process is for these major changes to the legislation."