Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee shot back at Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee, for calling Upton’s recent requests for Health Department documents regarding Obamacare a “fishing expedition” and for downplaying the possibility of union favoritism in Obamacare waiver distribution.
“You state in your letter that HHS has already made public certain information related to the 222 waivers HHS has granted thus far to unions and businesses in order to protect them from the economically devastating effects of the health care reform law,” Upton wrote to Waxman. “However, it is our understanding that HHS has in fact granted over 700 such waivers. Thus, HHS has apparently granted more than three times as many waivers as you cite in your letter. This fact alone underscores the dire need for oversight of the health care law, its effects, and its implementation by this Administration.”
Waxman has criticized House Republicans for what he considers misuse of House oversight powers. He said there is “no basis” for Upton’s investigations into Obamacare spending, possible favoritism for unions or the Obama administration’s Obamacare advertising blitz.
In his response, Upton said he disagrees with Waxman’s “belief that it is disruptive to ask for communications between officials at HHS regarding this important issue.”
“Last year the Democratic majority opted to place HHS in charge of the health care of every single American,” Upton wrote. “If the HHS bureaucracy can handle monitoring every doctor and patient relationship in the United States, it can handle a simple request for documents from an American public hungering to finally know the details about the Administration’s health care takeover.”
Upton has written four requests to the Department of Health and Human Services for information.