(Newsroom America) -- After threatening to do so for weeks, Rep. Darrell Issa issued a subpoena to obtain Health and Human Services documents that he believes are hiding costly effects of President Obama's signature health care plan until after the election.
An Issa aide told Fox News that the subpoena was issued to HHS Monday afternoon, the network reported on its website.
Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has for months sought documents and correspondence linked to an $8 billion program that is used to pay bonuses to Medicare Advantage plans.
The California Republican says the bonus program is being used to hide the initial round of Medicare Advantage cuts in connection with provisions outlined in the health reform law, in an effort to win favor with seniors - an important voting bloc.
"It's an unbelievable abuse of power," Issa said last week, adding that the program basically funds "what ObamaCare took away."
The program under scrutiny is called a "demonstration" project. Issa says it is far more sweeping than an average test program and conveniently lasts until 2014, into the next election cycle but well beyond the presidential election in two weeks.
"This is larger than every test they've ever done at HHS combined," Issa said.
The department has defended the project, saying it "is providing incentives to more (Medicare Advantage) plans to improve care, giving more patients high-quality choices in the program," and that it's "consistent with previous demos."
Earlier this year the Government Accountability Office recommended the Obama administration kill the bonus payment program and questioned the legal authority behind it.
In July a top GAO official testified that he had "never encountered" a program of that size, Fox News reported.
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