Washington budget battle focuses on ACA

May 25, 2013

Republicans sharply criticized U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in trying to jump start fundraising efforts to non-profits to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The action follows repeated congressional budget denials for the healthcare law, now estimated at $1.3 trillion over 10 years, according a recent report in the Washington Post. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called the effort “absurd” and demanded an inquiry.

 

Republicans sharply criticized U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in trying to jump start fundraising efforts to non-profits to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The action follows repeated congressional budget denials for the healthcare law, now estimated at $1.3 trillion over 10 years, according a recent report in the Washington Post. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called the effort “absurd” and demanded an inquiry.

The report suggests that Sebelius made multiple telephone calls to pharmaceutical industry executives and other community organizations in an effort to improve fundraising efforts to implement the ACA.

HHS argues that provisions allow the secretary to “encourage” support of non-profit groups.

The most recent action comes as the rhetoric toward ACA intensifies. This year, 14 ACA provisions will be implemented, and in 2014, the controversial health insurance exchanges will open to Americans.

Also, this month, the House Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and the Workforce Committee released an updated “Obamacare Burden Tracker.” It is described as a real-time, online resource of all of the new government mandates, rules, and red tape resulting from the ACA. Currently, the tracker estimates that the law adds nearly 190 million hours in compliance for healthcare providers, employers, and patients.

“Given the new demands of complying with the law, it is not surprising that over 70% of small businesses cite the healthcare law as a major obstacle to job creation,” the committee states.

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