Via The Hill:
The links between a nonprofit promoting President Obama’s healthcare law and the White House have created an “air of expectation” that insurers will contribute to the group, according to an insurance industry official.
Current and former administration officials have taken on leadership and fundraising roles for Enroll America, a nonprofit aiming to make sure people sign up for new coverage options. As the ties grow deeper, the organization has come to feel like “just an arm of the administration,” said one official who works closely with insurers.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already come under fire from congressional Republicans because she has raised money for the organization.
They say it puts inappropriate pressure on insurers, who will need the department’s approval to sell their products through a federally run insurance exchange in more than half the country.
“Companies and organizations should never be pressured for money because it sends the message that contributions are necessary to secure favorable regulatory decisions — creating a ‘pay to play’ environment — or to avoid regulatory reprisals,” Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee said in a recent letter to Sebelius.
Enroll America was created by some of the Affordable Care Act’s most ardent supporters, with a newly targeted mission of promoting enrollment in the law’s new insurance exchanges.