In Healthcare Reform Fight, Sebelius is Latest Target
The committee also requested "materials related to any meetings held at the White House on the implementation of PPACA."
That is potentially a comprehensive and time consuming list. Wouldn't it be easier to bring Secretary Sebelius before the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, which has investigation and oversight jurisdiction, put her under oath, and ask her if she has contacted any health plans?
I'd like that. It could quickly put to rest yet another PPACA side show.
Instead, Republicans seem intent on stretching this story out as long as possible. Last week in a hearing completely unrelated to any real or perceived actions by Sebelius, Rep. Lankford (R-OK) turned to media reports about the funding solicitations. "These actions unduly pressure private companies to financially support implementation and promotion efforts. [They are] fearing HHS retribution if they don't contribute. The secretary must stop using unethical methods to fund the law's implementation."
Democrats, with the exception of the White House, have been largely quiet on the matter. Party leaders ought to encourage Secretary Sebelius to step out in front of this issue. Straightforward answers delivered by Sebelius, not her spokesperson, might work wonders.
Of course, all of this House action is politically motivated, but what isn't in Washington?
Healthcare reform is at a critical juncture this year. Casting aspersions on the government official most closely connected with the reform effort is a distraction that needs to be resolved very quickly. Sebelius holds that key. She should speak up.
Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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