Dozens of the nation's largest insurance firms must decide whether to honor a request from House Democrats for detailed financial records, part of an investigation into executive compensation and other business practices in an industry that opposes President Barack Obama's health care proposals.
A spokesman for Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said Tuesday night that 52 letters had been sent to health insurers with $2 billion or more in annual premiums. He said letters were not dispatched to other industry groups, some of which have been airing television advertising in support of Obama's call for legislation.
The request to insurance companies included records relating to compensation of highly paid employees, documents relating to companies' premium income and claims payments, and information on expenses stemming from any event held outside company facilities in the past 2 1/2 years.
The requests were made in letters signed by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who guided a portion of health care legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month as chairman, and Stupak, who heads a subcommittee on the panel.
They wrote that the committee was "examining executive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry." The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter.