Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican and ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and House Ways and Means Committee chair, called on the Obama administration to be more transparent than it has been in its handling of the Obamacare waivers process.
In a Tuesday letter to Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, the lawmakers said the refusal to release information surrounding the Obamacare waiver process highlights the lack of transparency in the administration.
“The Administration’s refusal to make public the names of those companies and entities which have been denied waivers, and the reasons for why those waivers were denied, are prime examples of the lack of transparency which has become a hallmark of this Administration,” they wrote. “The absence of full disclosure about both the approved and denied waivers prevents the American people the ability to know how the health care law is being implemented. It should be clear and publicly available which entities have to comply with the burdensome and costly requirements of the new health care law and which are receiving a temporary reprieve because they were aware of and navigated the waiver process.”
So far, HHS has granted 1,372 waivers from Obamacare’s annual limit requirements. Though the administration has publicly released some information about the recipients of Obamacare waivers, HHS has refused to release the names or any other information about those who were denied waivers, other than the fact that 92 entities were denied. It also has refused to release any information about those still waiting for a decision, including the number of applicants.
In their letter, Hatch and Camp also point out that local businesses nationwide haven’t been made aware of the waivers’ availability. The administration, they point out, does publicize certain other facets of Obamacare, however.
“We note, too, that this runs in stark contrast to the Administration’s efforts to publicize other areas of the new law, such as contacting 4 million small businesses via mail about a tax credit that few will be eligible for,” the letter reads. “Therefore, please tell us why the Administration decided that it was not important to provide information on how small businesses could escape the burdens of the new health care law in the same manner.”
Hatch and Camp gave Sebelius a June 10 deadline to get back to them with information.