The House of Representatives will soon vote on a bill from the Energy and Commerce Committee to shift almost $4 billion from an ObamaCare slush fund to help people with pre-existing medical conditions. House Republicans want to help those who cannot obtain insurance. Every Democrat on the committee voted against it–because it drains a corrupted ObamaCare slush fund. .
Democrats objected because the targeted “Prevention and Public Health Fund” is all about patronage and greasing political wheels. Obamacare supporters in Congress somehow consider this a more important purpose than helping sick Americans. Part of $10 billion in the slush fund has already been used by Health and Human Services (HHS) to illegally fund local groups lobbying for higher soda-pop taxes and moratoriums on fast-food outlets and for pet neutering, bike paths and community gardening projects. By design, there is no Congressional oversight.
The House bill would drain the remaining slush fund to help people with pre-existing medical conditions who are being turned away by HHS. House Republicans are right to ask, “Are not these the very people that President Obama said he wanted to help with ObamaCare?” They legitimately wonder whether billions are actually being spent under ObamaCare for political and patently illegal lobbying activities.
But HHS, which jealously controls hundreds of billions of dollars in Obamacare funds, objects to being told how to spend this fund. And House and Senate Democrats oppose this shift because they put a lot of drafting effort into (wrongly) appropriating these monies in the authorization bill for ObamaCare–specifically to shield these funds from constitutionally defined House budget and taxing authority.
HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius now says that she will also use this slush fund to buy more than $300 million of happy talk in ObamaCare TV ads and to augment another exhausted ObamaCare fund to set up state and federally operated healthcare exchanges. She also wants to send millions to ACORN outfits across the country. That’s right–our own tax dollars will be used to fund groups working against every conservative notion of limited government. With almost unlimited power to spend money, HHS wants no restraints—even if it means being told to actually help people.
It is notable that House Republicans are more interested in helping the uninsured than the Democrats who have tried to define ObamaCare opponents as heartless. The Energy and Commerce Committee admits that they would prefer a more market-driven, state-based approach but that this is the most silk they can produce out of the sow’s ear. They have put aside their distaste of the economy-killing ObamaCare to do what is best for the sick.
Some groups and conservative legislators who also oppose Obamacare have objected because this bill “fixes” one of the many broken parts in the ill-considered legislation. Theirs is a debate between people who all want the bad law repealed but who see different paths to achieve it. Draining this unsupervised and entirely political slush fund was, on balance, considered a constructive path to repeal by members of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Those with pre-existing medical conditions will certainly agree with House Republicans although few will likely hear about it through the mainstream media if other slush funds under ObamaCare are any indication. Another $5 billion slush fund saw HHS pay out richly to subsidize early retirement benefits to the nation’s largest corporations, Obama’s union supporters and to newspapers and TV network executives. Although the New York Times, The,Washington Post and even GE (who owns NBC) received millions, there was no disclosure to readers or viewers except by The Associated Press.
Notwithstanding the media’s disinterest, the moment is coming when more and more Americans begin realizing the painful and avoidable flaws forced upon them with ObamaCare. The promises made will almost all be proven false and the destructive effects on medicine, the economy and the individual will become increasingly apparent. House Republicans who have voted again and again to repeal the coming disaster are showing now that they do care about the shortcomings of our healthcare system and want to tackle them in a far more responsible manner.
Ken Hoagland is chairman of Restore America’s Voice, the grassroots advocacy group that delivered more than 1.6 million petitions demanding repeal of ObamaCare. Find his organization on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Repeal-It-Now/150827868292567?sk=wall