Resolution Of Inquiry Requests Internal Documents Related To Report Predicting Health Costs Will Go Up Because Of Health Law

Press Release

Date: July 28, 2010

Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, last night introduced a Resolution of Inquiry (ROI), H.Res. 1561, requesting internal Health and Human Services (HHS) communications related to a government report that the newly enacted health care law will actually cause health care costs to increase by billions. On April 22, 2010, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Chief Actuary, Richard S. Foster, released a report entitled Estimated Financial Effects of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,' as Amended, which predicted that, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, national health expenditures would increase by $311 billion over 10 years. These updated projections were only released after the President signed the bill into law.

The ROI seeks information on whether important information regarding the bill's costs were purposely withheld from Congress. The ROI requests HHS to provide any documents, records, telephone and electronic communications, records of internal discussions, and records of presentations or briefings related to the CMS Actuary's report, including communications about the report's impact on passage of health care reform and the timing of the release of the report.

"I am very concerned that the information in this report was deliberately kept secret before final passage of health care reform, thereby preventing Congress and the public from knowing the truth about the costs of implementation of the legislation," Burgess said. "Were Secretary Sebelius and others at HHS aware of this report while saying publicly that health care costs would go down because of the bill? Were officials in the Obama Administration knowingly misleading Americans by suppressing this report? I do not know, but the American people deserve answers."

Burgess, along with Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-Texas), expressed similar concerns in a June 14, 2010 letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius, writing "We are concerned by recent press reports that HHS may have had access to information that Mr. Foster used in his April report prior to Congressional consideration but did not share this information with the public or with Congress…we question whether, or to what extent, HHS had access to the information in Mr. Foster's report prior to the report's release. Such information could have been helpful to the public's and Congress' understanding of the financial impact of the law."

"The American people were promised time and time again by President Obama that his Administration would be the most transparent and open in history. The American people were also promised that ObamaCare would lower the cost of health care. It is becoming more apparent that both of those promises have been broken, and it's time for this Administration to stop misleading the country and tell the truth," Burgess continued.

Under House rules, a Resolution of Inquiry becomes privileged on the House floor if it is not considered by the Committee of jurisdiction within 14 legislative days of introduction.