Congressman Henry Waxman (D-California) attending a health care policy discussion in April. (Photo: Reuters)
House Democrats are probing the nation's largest insurance companies for lavish spending, demanding reams of compensation data and schedules of retreats and conferences.
Letters sent to 52 insurance companies by Democratic leaders demand extensive documents for an examination of "extensive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry." The letters set a deadline of Sept. 14 for the documents.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, signed the three-page letter dated Monday.
An industry source replied when asked for comment: "This is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded fishing expedition designed to silence health plans."
By Sept. 4, the firms are supposed to supply detailed compensation data for board members and top executives, as well as a "table listing all conferences, retreats, or other events held outside company facilities from January 1, 2007, to the present that were paid for, reimbursed, or subsidized in whole or in part by your company."
For employees or officers making $500,000 or more, the committee wants information on salary, bonus, options and pension.
And by Sept. 14, the firms are supposed to provide copies of reports from compensation consultants, plus board drafts of compensation plans and information about market share.