Democrats slam ‘biased and partisan’ report attacking healthcare law

Democrats raised questions last year about how the committee’s Republican oversight staff was conducting the investigation, and they lambasted the report as it was released publicly.

“The biased and partisan approach that you have taken in today's report heightens our concerns about how the Committee is using its investigative powers,” Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said in a letter to the committee’s GOP leadership.

The GOP document quotes several large businesses saying the healthcare law will raise their costs or have other adverse effects. Southwest Airlines said the law will add $69 million to its healthcare costs, and General Electric said it would incur millions of dollars in additional costs to comply with specific provisions of the law.

Energy and Commerce Democrats said roughly one-third of the 27 companies on the Council didn’t respond to Republicans’ inquiries, and that the report pulls selectively from the responses investigators did receive.

The GOP document, for example, quotes DuPont saying it will have to make “numerous, costly” changes to comply with the health law. But the Democrats quoted a different part of DuPont’s response, in which the company says it doesn’t think the law will have a “material” impact on the cost of its health plan.

Negligible effects were also reported by Intel, Kodak and others, according to Democrats’ response to the GOP report.

“In preparing this report, your staff appears to ignore many documents that did not comport with the conclusion that you had reached even before opening the investigation,” Waxman and DeGette wrote.

Several firms said they expect their costs to rise as a result of the politically unpopular individual mandate, according to the Republican document. Citigroup estimated the impact of the coverage requirement at $8 million, while Comcast said the mandate would drive up its costs by somewhere between $3.6 million and $48 million.