HHS Secretary Sebelius to health industry: How about you make a donation to help implement Obamacare?
**Written by Doug Powers
A letter from the head of a government agency soliciting “donations” from companies in the same industry she regulates might as well say “nice little business ya got there — shame if something were to happen to it.”
From the Washington Post:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.
Oh, I see how it works — everybody’s forced by law to board something destined to be a train wreck, and then after the thing’s clanking along at runaway speed, the collection plate is passed to raise money to add more track before it hits the end of the line. Brilliant!
However, according to an HHS spokesperson, Sebelius was within the bounds of ethics because she didn’t necessarily solicit cash donations:
Young said that Sebelius did not solicit for funds directly from industries that HHS regulates, such as insurance companies and hospitals, but rather asked them to contribute in whatever way they can.
So Sebelius may not have been referring to financial contributions. If anybody has any extra stethoscopes lying around or canned goods to donate, the administration will appreciate those just as much — anything to help delay the train wreck at least until after the 2014 election.
**Written by Doug Powers
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