Two House panels have issued subpoenas to the Obama administration in an effort to get information about how the administration has been making $5 billion in cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidy payments to public exchange plan issuers.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have sent the subpoenas to Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Drafters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) created the CSR program to help PPACA exchange users with incomes under 250 percent of the federal poverty limit. The CSR program helps those exchange plan users pay their deductibles, coinsurance amounts and other out-of-pocket costs.
House Republications says HHS needs an appropriation from Congress to make the CSR program payments, and that HHS has been making CSR payments without having an appropriation.
The House sued Burwell, HHS, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and the U.S. Treasury Department over the matter in the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia in November 2014. HHS and the Treasury Department are trying to persuade Judge Rosemary Collyer to grant a motion for summary judgment in favor of the CSR program and against the House leaders who filed the suit.