Where’s The Authority To Delay? House Committee Asks Treasury To Explain Decision

The Treasury Department should hand over the legal and factual information supporting its decisions to delay key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a letter that House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The letter requests documents regarding the administration’s most recent delay of the employer mandate. The delay gives medium-sized businesses (50-99 full-time employees) until 2016 to comply with the mandate.

“Families and businesses, employees and employers across the country deserve better than the unpredictable and unexplained delays that give a temporary reprieve to some but not others—they deserve certainty, and they deserve fairness for all. Our oversight is grounded on the pillars of transparency and accountability, and we expect the administration deliver the facts with the same priority it has put behind its many delays,” full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) commented.

Earlier requests. This is not the committee’s first request for documents. The committee sent letters on July 3, 2013, and Aug. 21, 2013, seeking documents regarding the Treasury Department’s analysis of the constitutional or statutory authority to implement the ACA in direct violation of its text. The committee requested memoranda or analysis regarding the discussions between the Treasury Department and other agencies about a delay. According to the letter, “To date, Treasury has failed to product all materials requested.”

Requested documents. The committee leaders now are seeking documents related to:

• the costs or burdens of the law’s requirements on employers with more than 50 employees, and on employers with more than 100 employees that the Treasury Department relied upon when delaying employer mandate;

• the costs or penalties for individuals under the health law that have been prepared for or by the Treasury Department;

• the constitutional or statutory authority of Treasury to delay the employer mandate; and

• all documents exchanged between or among Treasury, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Executive Office of the President (EOP) referring or relating to the latest delay of the employer mandate and, specifically, feedback or analysis provided by HHS or the EOP to Treasury.

“Postponing a doctor’s appointment can’t cure an illness, but that’s how the administration continues to treat the problems with cost, coverage, and access in the president’s health care law. Rather than denying reality, the administration needs to come to the public and Congress with an honest, transparent, and workable plan to address the concerns of American families,” Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) said.

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