Research

The Sebelius Shakedown

There Are More Questions Than Answers In The Health Secretary’s Solicitation Of Funds For ObamaCare

OBAMACARE INSIDERS ARE SOLICITING HEALTH CARE COMPANIES TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OBAMACARE  

If There’s Nothing Improper About Obama’s HHS Secretary Soliciting Donations To Promote ObamaCare, Why Not Provide A Full List Of Companies That She Solicited?

Kathleen Sebelius Is “Seeking Assistance From Companies In The Health Care Field” To Implement ObamaCare. “In telephone calls that began around March 23, officials say, Obama’s top healthcare adviser has been seeking assistance from companies in the healthcare field and other industries as well as from healthcare providers, patient advocacy groups, churches and other charitable organizations.” (David Morgan, “Obama’s Health Secretary Seeks Donations From Companies For Healthcare Law,” Reuters, 5/11/13)

“HHS Declined To Identify The Targeted Donors But Said None Of The Companies Are Regulated By Department Agencies.” (David Morgan, “Obama’s Health Secretary Seeks Donations From Companies For Healthcare Law,” Reuters, 5/11/13)

  • Nearly A Week Later, Secretary Sebelius’s Spokesman Said That She Had Solicited Funds From H&R Block And The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation To Promote ObamaCare. “Young said in his e-mail that Sebelius has ‘engaged in a dialogue’ with 18 categories of individuals and organizations since January about how they can ‘join the public-private effort to help uninsured Americans take advantage’ of the health law. The only companies he named were tax preparation business H&R Block and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.” (Alex Wayne, “Sebelius Limited Fundraising For Health Law To Two Calls,” Bloomberg, 5/16/13)

The Washington Post Editorial: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is “Dancing Around Serious Ethical Lines” By Asking Insurance Companies For Private Funds For Enroll America. “One of the biggest questions hanging over the health-care system is how many young Americans will sign up for coverage once the Affordable Care Act begins to phase in this October. If too few buy insurance on the markets that the government is creating, insurance companies would be stuck covering primarily the old and the sick. They would have to pay out more per customer. Their customers, in turn, would have to pay more to those companies for coverage. The stakes for the Health and Human Services Department, which is overseeing the transition, are tremendous. But they are not high enough to justify HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dancing around serious ethical lines. The department admitted recently that Ms. Sebelius has solicited private support – including from insurance companies – for Enroll America, a nonprofit group devoted to expanding access that a former Obama administration staffer runs.” (Editorial, “Kathleen Sebelius Dances On An Ethical Line,” The Washington Post , 5/18/13)

  • “Given That HHS Directly Controls The Markets In Which The Insurers Operate, We Would Hardly Blame Them For Reading A Lot, Even Too Much, Into The Secretary’s Requests And Feeling Nervous About Them.” “The legal question is still murky. The ethical one is less so. The Post’s Sarah Kliff, who broke the story, reports that at least one official in the health-care industry felt pressure to give money and other forms of support to Enroll America. Given that HHS directly controls the markets in which the insurers operate, we would hardly blame them for reading a lot, even too much, into the secretary’s requests and feeling nervous about them. But even if they didn’t, it would have been easy to expect donations to curry favor with Ms. Sebelius.” (Editorial, “Kathleen Sebelius Dances On An Ethical Line,” The Washington Post , 5/18/13)

With Obama’s Former Health Czar Actively Fundraising For ObamaCare, Will HHS And The White House Disclose Whether Other Obama Officials And Allies Solicited Donations?

Nancy-Ann DeParle, Obama’s Former Health Care Czar Is Now Shaking Down Insurance Companies To Donate To Enroll America. “Nancy-Ann DeParle helped get ObamaCare enacted during President Barack Obama’s first term. In his second term, she’s trying to get insurers to pony up millions to get the law successfully launched. Now in the private sector, DeParle is asking top executives at several health insurance companies to donate $1 million or more to Enroll America, a nonprofit organization promoting Obamacare enrollment, several sources familiar with her role said.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former W.H. Health Care Aide, Pitches Insurers For ObamaCare,” Politico, 5/28/13)

Enroll America “Has Come To Feel Like ‘Just An Arm Of The Administration.’” “Current and former administration officials have taken on leadership and fundraising roles for Enroll America, a nonprofit aiming to make sure people sign up for new coverage options. As the ties grow deeper, the organization has come to feel like ‘just an arm of the administration,’ said one official who works closely with insurers.” (Sam Baker, “Insurers Feel Pressure From Health Group Ties To White House,” The Hill’s Health Watch , 5/23/13)

  • Enroll America Is “Closely Linked With Obama’s Political Operation, Organizing For Action.” “Those ties may let her move in both the worlds of industry and government. But insurers fear that the non-partisan work of Enroll America is already too closely linked with Obama’s political operation, Organizing for Action, which is the post-election incarnation of his campaign organization.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former W.H. Health Care Aide, Pitches Insurers For ObamaCare,” Politico, 5/28/13)

If The ObamaCare Solicitations Are No Cause For Concern, Why Does Everyone Close To The Administration Continue To Withhold Answers?

Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney Mocked Questions About Sebelius’s Fundraising. MAJOR GARRETT: “Do questions raised about HHS Secretary Sebelius and her efforts to raise funds through the private sector for Enroll Now fall into that category?” JAY CARNEY: “We can go down the list of — we could say what about the President’s birth certificate? Was that legitimate?” ( White House Press Briefing, Washington, D.C., 5/21/13)

HHS Recently Referred Reuters To Its Original Statement After Being Asked If The Department Would Provide “A List Of All Solicitations.” “An HHS statement last week said that since March Sebelius solicited financial donations for Enroll America from H&R Block Inc, the tax preparation company, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic entity devoted to public health issues. Asked Monday for a list of all solicitations before or after March, an HHS spokesman referred Reuters to the department’s original statement.” (David Morgan, “Analysis: Some Republicans See New Scandal In Sebelius Fundraising,” Reuters, 5/21/13)

Nancy-Ann DeParle Declined To Respond To Questions On Her Fundraising Activities On Behalf Of Enroll America. “DeParle, whose experience in both government and the health industry allows her to move in both worlds, did not respond to POLITICO emails or a call seeking comment.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former W.H. Health Care Aide, Pitches Insurers For ObamaCare,” Politico, 5/28/13)

“Anne Filipic, President Of Enroll America, Which Is Working Closely With Obama’s Organizing For Action, Declined To Answer Specific Questions About DeParle’s Fund-Raising.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former W.H. Health Care Aide, Pitches Insurers For ObamaCare,” Politico, 5/28/13)

Ron Pollack, Executive Director Of Families USA And The Chairman Of Enroll America, Has “Declined To Discuss DeParle’s Efforts.” “Enroll America was conceived several years ago to help with outreach. Brainchild of Families USA executive director Ron Pollack, the effort will involve both advertising and deploying volunteers to knock on doors, campaign style, to help people sign up. … He declined to discuss DeParle’s efforts.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former W.H. Health Care Aide, Pitches Insurers For ObamaCare,” Politico, 5/28/13)