U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding provisions slipped into the so-called "Cromnibus" bill designed to ratify and fund the new health law:
"Using the end-of-the-year spending bill as a Trojan horse to fund the new federal health care law is hardly the mandate from the November elections. Yet, that is what Congress is doing through the must-pass spending bill to fund government operations. We need to repeal, not ratify, the new health law and replace it with health reforms that will truly lower costs and improve health care quality and access."
"The bill provides $19 million to the IRS for dictating health insurance under the new health law -- a small but significant opening salvo in the push to give IRS tax bureaucrats power over Americans' health care. The legislation also spends $12 million on an unelected panel of bureaucrats who will issue costly mandates, make coverage decisions for all Americans, and could deny patient choice under the guise of "prevention.'
"The bill also provides a fat $3.6 billion check for Dr. Donald Berwick, the new head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to be used for non-descript "program management.' The fact that Dr. Berwick continues to evade questions from members of the press and public raises serious questions about his intended purpose for these funds.
"Other funding for the new health law in the bill seems to reflect the desire of congressional appropriators to micromanage and make decisions in areas in which they have limited knowledge and expertise. For instance, the health law provides $750 million in 2011 to a prevention and public health slush fund -- all of which is earmarked by this bill primarily for new health reform programs. Rather than allowing public health experts to allocate funding to the most promising public health strategies, the appropriations committee has decided which public health programs to fund and directed significant new funding to build sidewalks, jungle gyms and swing sets.
"Members of Congress who campaigned on defunding the misguided health law Congress passed last year should oppose this trillion-dollar spending bill. We already know the health law isn't working. Members who supported it are guilty of misleading advertising. During the last six months we have seen health insurance premium increase, not decrease, because of the new law. It's time for Congress to extend current tax rates, pass a clean spending bill -- a "continuing resolution' - without extraneous and vague health care provisions, and go home."