With its numerous tax hikes, mandates and regulations, Obamacare has already proven to be a debacle that will do nothing but increase costs and decrease the quality of health care. There is no clearer example of Obamacare's inflexible regulatory burdens than the state health insurance exchange requirements. Not only do these exchanges create the illusion of choice for patients, but they are funded through an unaccountable, unlimited slush fund controlled by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Although the exchanges are not mandatory until 2014, HHS has already started to award states funding to begin their implementation. The Early Innovator Grant program rewards states that begin the process of developing information technology infrastructure for Obamacare. Of the seven states that were awarded these funds, two--Oklahoma and Kansas-- have decided to take a brave stand by returning the grant dollars to the federal government.
Freshmen Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) along with Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced legislation that would take returned grant money and direct it to the U.S. Treasury to help pay down our debt. Congressman Pompeo released the following statement announcing his newest legislation.
"Within the past 5 months, Kansas and Oklahoma rejected $31.5 million and $54 million, respectively, in Early Innovator Grant funds. Accepting the funds would have required these states to implement technologies in line with federal government standards and submit periodic review updates to HHS detailing how they specifically intend to implement Obamacare policies, with little to no flexibility. Keeping this money would have paved the way for the Administration to micromanage each state's health care policies.
"I applaud Kansas' decision to reject this money and the federal control that would have come with it; however, simply giving the money back to the Obama Administration to be spent elsewhere is not acceptable in light of our current debt situation. That's why I'm proud to stand with Congressman James Lankford to introduce legislation requiring the Secretary of HHS to transfer all returned Early Innovator Grant funds to the Treasury for the purpose of deficit reduction.
"Kansas and Oklahoma have sent a clear signal to this Administration that they reject its strings-attached funding. Let's stand with Governors Brownback and Fallin and use these funds to pay down our deficit, not to implement Obamacare," stated Pompeo.
Congressman Lankford added the following:
"Kansas and Oklahoma choose to reject federal money to push back against the growing federal deficit," said Congressman Lankford. "Each state knows how to take better care of their citizens than the federal government. The President's health care law imposes strict requirements on the states to meet Washington standards and removes any flexibility the states have to improve quality health care services. Kansas and Oklahoma are crucial advocates for the cause of restraining Washington's control to give local communities the ability to make the decisions that are best for their own citizens.
"This bill makes a major step not only in health care reform, but also for fiscal responsibility. With a national debt nearing $14.5 trillion, we can no longer afford to spend money on wasteful Washington-run programs. Taking this undesignated money to pay down the deficit saves taxpayer dollars and begins to fight back against the crushing burden of debt on the next generation."