Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, alleges that the Department of Health and Human Services is using an $8 billion Medicare bonus payment demonstration project to mask the health law's cuts to Medicare Advantage plans in advance of the election.
The Hill: Rep. Issa Threatens To Subpoena HHS Over Medicare Bonuses
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Thursday that he's willing to subpoena documents from the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), alleging a conspiracy to hide the impact of President Obama's health care law. Issa, as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is investigating an $8 billion demonstration project in which Medicare pays bonuses to certain private Medicare Advantage plans based on quality. The congressman has suggested that HHS is using the bonus payments to mask the health care law's cuts to Medicare Advantage plans ahead of the election. Issa and Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) requested documents about the bonus payments in August. They said Thursday that they haven't gotten a response and said they "will consider the use of compulsory process" if HHS doesn't turn over the documents by Oct. 5 (Baker, 9/27).
CQ HealthBeat: Issa Threatens To Force CMS To Turn Over Medicare Advantage Documents
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is threatening to force Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to turn over documents relating to their authority to issue bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans under a CMS demonstration program. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he wants the documents by Oct. 5. "If the Department continues to ignore the Committee's request, we will consider the use of a compulsory process," Issa wrote (9/27).
In other Capitol Hill news --
The Hill: Dems Warn Implanted Medical Devices Prone To Hacking
Democratic lawmakers are sounding the alarm on a new hacking threat -- to your pacemaker. In a statement Thursday, three House Democrats called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to scrutinize implantable medical devices more carefully. The lawmakers cited government research showing devices such as cardiac defibrillators and insulin pumps can be vulnerable to tampering because of their wireless capabilities. "Even the human body is vulnerable to attack from computer hackers," said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). "The demonstrated security risks require a renewed emphasis by the FDA and manufacturers to identify, evaluate and plug the potentially rare but serious security holes that exist in these devices" (Viebeck, 9/27).