GOP senator lifts hold on health nominees

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Thursday said he is ending a block on President Obama’s health-related nominees as part of a battle over ObamaCare.
“After much delay and obfuscation, [the Department of Health and Human Services] has finally come to the table and provided my office access to new documents, financial reports, and additional information,” Sasse said in a statement. “Given HHS’ recent production of documents and their ensuing commitment to cooperate, I am lifting my hold on pending nominees.”
{mosads}The decision comes after the freshman Republican said earlier this year that he would block all HHS nominees until the administration handed over answers on ObamaCare’s faltering co-op health plans. 
Approximately half of the ObamaCare co-ops — nonprofit health insurers that are supposed to compete with established companies — have failed because of financial problems.
He doubled down on the pledge to stop nominations last month after HHS sent a letter to Sasse, which the Republican senator suggested wasn’t enough and didn’t answer his questions. Sasse has sent a series of letters to the department this year asking questions about taxpayer-funded loans given to the co-ops and the administration’s oversight of their finances. 
The decision to release his holds comes as he suggested as recently as last week that he was still waiting for the department to hand over the requested information.
When Maine’s co-op announced that it was cutting off its individual enrollment, Sasse mentioned in a statement that “at least half a million Americans have been forced out of their health plans when 12 CO-OPs failed, but we’re still waiting on HHS to provide a full accounting of what has happened.”
Sasse is a member of a Senate subcommittee, overseen by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), that has been investigating the co-op program.  
Tags Ben Sasse Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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