The Blog

‘Private Citizen’ Sebelius Solicits Obamacare ‘Donations’

7:25 AM, May 15, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Nor is this the end of the list of Sebelius’s unscrupulous or illegal actions.  Last January, her department awarded a contract to a private company, QSSI, to help build and police the upcoming Obamacare exchanges — the government marketplaces through which millions of Americans will be required to purchase Sebelius-approved health insurance starting next year.  The head of the HHS entity that awarded the contract was Steve Larsen, who has longtime ties to Sebelius.  In June, Larsen was hired away from HHS by Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.  Sometime that summer, QSSI was purchased by UnitedHealth Group, the parent company of UnitedHealthcare, which will be competing in the very exchanges that HHS contracted with QSSI to help develop and police.  The Hill writes, “One critic familiar with the business rivalries of the insurance industry compared UnitedHealth Group’s purchase of QSSI to the New York Yankees hiring the American League’s umpires.” 

According to an insurance industry insider who spoke with me on the condition of anonymity, when Sebelius became aware of UnitedHealth Group’s purchase of QSSI, she couldn’t very well void the contract because her department was so far behind in setting up the Obamacare exchanges.  But she also couldn’t afford to let word get out that UnitedHealth Group had gained a potentially huge competitive advantage, thereby opening up the Obama administration to further charges of cronyism.  So, according to my source, HHS, under Sebelius’s leadership, instead told UnitedHealth Group not to alert the Securities and Exchange Commission about the sale — in apparent violation of federal law, which required that the sale be reported within four days — until after the election. 

One wonders whether UnitedHealth Group or its executives are among those whom Sebelius is now soliciting, as she seeks hefty donations to help implement her boss’s signature legislation.

Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers