KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Republicans Ask GAO To Probe Sebelius’ Fundraising

GOP lawmakers seek an investigation of the Health and Human Services secretary's efforts to secure more funding for a private group that will help with the implementation of the health law. At the same time, an HHS spokesman offered more detail regarding whom she contacted.

Politico: GOP: GAO Should Investigate Kathleen Sebelius
A group of Republican lawmakers called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over her fundraising for a nonprofit supporting Obamacare. Republicans are criticizing news that Sebelius sought donations from health care companies for a group working to encourage more people to enroll in Obamacare programs (Gibson, 5/16).

Modern Healthcare: GOP Lawmakers Seek GAO Probe Of Sebelius’ Fundraising Efforts
Pressure continued to mount on the Obama administration Thursday as Republican leaders in the House and Senate asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' fundraising efforts for a private organization to help implement the healthcare reform law. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education Chairman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), along with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the ranking members on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Senate Finance committees, respectively, sent a letter to Comptroller Gene Dodaro at the GAO asking Dodaro's office to examine Sebelius' efforts to solicit funds for Enroll America, a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to help Americans learn about, enroll in and retain healthcare coverage (Zigmond, 5/16).

Bloomberg: Sebelius Limited Fundraising For Health Law To Two Calls
The U.S. health secretary's solicitation of money from companies to promote the Affordable Care Act ended after two phone calls, to H&R Block Inc. (HRB) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, according to her spokesman. Enroll America, a nonprofit promoting the 2010 health law had asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to help raise money from a longer list of companies. Sebelius solicited two for money, and only asked the others for technical advice and nonfinancial support because they were regulated by her department, said Jason Young a spokesman for the agency (Wayne, 5/16).

Meanwhile -

The Hill: CRS: Sebelius Can Take Place Of Controversial Medicare Board
If congressional Republicans succeed in blocking a controversial new Medicare board created in the Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius can step in instead. GOP leaders have resisted the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member panel tasked with slowing the growth in Medicare spending. The IPAB would make targeted cuts in Medicare's payments to doctors and other providers. ... But if Republican efforts to block the panel are effective, they could further empower Sebelius, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said. CRS said in a memo to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that the law directs the HHS secretary to propose Medicare cuts if the IPAB doesn't (Baker, 5/16).

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