Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf testified on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act does not include $105 billion in “hidden” mandatory funding, rejecting such claims by GOP opponents of the bill, including Tea Party leader Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
“Secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation,” Bachmann said recently on “Meet the Press.”
But Elmendorf said during a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that he was aware of funding for a new prevention and public health fund -- a state-based effort aimed at preventing chronic disease and for school health centers, the funding that Bachmann and other GOP members said was “hidden.”
“So it seems we couldn’t slip much past you, try as the Republicans think they might,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. “It was actually reauthorization of preexisting programs and a standard practice of this committee.”
House Republicans have pledged to choke funding for the health-care reform law, but it may not be as easy as they once thought. The health care measure already included pre-approved spending provisions from other sources by the time it was made into law.
The hearing comes one day before House Republicans plan to eliminate direct mandatory spending of what they call a “$17.5 billion slush fund” under several health care law provisions. Some of those provisions include funding for the prevention and public health fund, construction of school-based health centers, grants for personal responsibility education programs and state-based exchange grants.
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed into law. Obama has said it would cost less than $1 trillion over 10 years, and promised it would reduce the deficit in that period. CBO estimates that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the federal deficit by $210 billion in the first decade and $1 trillion in the next decade.
In a symbolic vote earlier this year, House Republicans voted to repeal the health care law, making good on their campaign promise from the election last year.
CBO Chief: Reform’s Mandatory Spending Wasn’t Hidden (The Hill)
Lawmakers Return to Wrangle Over Health Law (Kaiser Health News)
Medicare Fraud: A $70 Billion Taxpayer Ripoff (The Fiscal Times)