Today, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, called on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Actuary Richard Foster to produce all communications used to unilaterally execute a $8.3 billion Medicare Advantage quality bonus demonstration program (MA QBP), without any legal authority or approval from Congress.
Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that CMS exceeded its legal authority in implementing the MA QBP. The letters from Camp and Herger highlight specific concerns about the MA QBP raised by both the non-partisan GAO and the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, writing "As a result of these and other concerns, GAO ultimately concluded, "the Secretary of HHS should cancel the MA Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration.'"
Those findings follow inquiries that Camp and others, including Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), have made over the last year questioning the actions of the agency regarding the demonstration program and its attempts to shield seniors from the fallout of the Medicare cuts contained in the Democrats' health care law in advance of the November election.
Camp and Herger go on to write to Secretary Sebelius, "With its most recent report, GAO has determined HHS exceeded its legal authority to implement this demonstration, which calls into question all activities surrounding the development of the QBP." Camp and Herger requested that Secretary Sebelius detail all communications with the Actuaries' office, the Office of Management and Budget, the White House, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Obama for America, which led the agency to take action related to MA QBP. The response is due on August 3, 2012.