Welcome to ObamaCare Part XI: HHS Spends Wildly

June 26, 2012 J

By: Nicole Kaeding

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Thursday morning on the constitutionality of the President’s health care law. While advocates of health care freedom are focused on the Court, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is busy rushing federal grants out the door while no one is watching. Instead of waiting on the Supreme Court, HHS is wasting your federal tax dollars—hoping to buy off opponents and quell the public’s hostility to this unpopular health care takeover.

According to an article published in Politico on Saturday, HHS has issued more than $2.7 billion in grants since oral arguments concluded at the Court in March. This is almost three times greater than the amount spent in the three months prior to arguments. The grants help fund a variety of programs imbedded in the health care law, including state and federal health care exchanges, health care co-ops and health care innovation programs.

These programs are a waste of taxpayer dollars. For instance, in a recent piece appearing in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Steven Greer profiled his time evaluating the effectiveness of health care “innovation” grants for HHS. One example that he cites: George Washington University received a $1.9 million grant to implement changes that would reduce costs for its patients by $1.7 million—an investment that returned a net negative. HHS has given out over $772 million in similar “innovation” grants since March.

HHS has also distributed more than $306 million in grants to health care co-ops since March.  These health care co-ops are government funded and guaranteed nonprofit insurance companies, which HHS hopes will be more consumer-focused and provide better health outcomes. But this ignores that most insurance companies are already nonprofit and can only make enough revenues to cover expenses when they provide quality service to their customers.  In Montana, for instance, HHS funded a new co-op that would compete alongside three large insurers, two of which are already nonprofits. Here HHS is simply propping up companies it likes best, distorting market competition.

Americans for Prosperity profiled HHS’ out-of-control spending in February as well. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged that HHS was over budget on a federal health care exchange and would work around Congressional opposition to obtain more funds.

Instead of waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on ObamaCare and being good stewards of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars, HHS is shoveling money out the door in hopes of entrenching a massive federal health care bureaucracy before the Court—or public opposition—can tear it down.

Welcome to ObamaCare.

Check out previous posts in the “Welcome to ObamaCare” series by clicking below:

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