Sebelius refuses to shut down “demonstration project” criticized by GAO

posted at 5:21 pm on April 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this week, the New York Post warned readers that the Obama administration planned to use an $8.3 billion in HHS appropriations as a “slush fund” to hide the impact of ObamaCare on choice options for seniors that would otherwise have hit just before the election in November.  That same day, the General Accounting Office blasted the Obama administration for its attempt, and called on HHS to reverse itself.  Today, Rep. John Kline, chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, confronted HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the GAO report, but Sebelius remained defiant — and insisted that the Obama administration would proceed with its slush-fund plans:

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today vowed to continue a controversial “demonstration project” that has come under fire recently by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Democrats’ 2010 health care law cut $200 billion from Medicare Advantage, a program that currently serves 12 million seniors. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts will result in 5 million fewer seniors participating in the popular program. The GAO recently  criticized an $8 billion national demonstration project run by the administration that may have been intended to mask the impact of these cuts until 2013. The GAO reports the design of this project “precludes a credible evaluation of its effectiveness.”

The GAO has called on HHS to cancel this unprecedented multi-billion dollar program. However, when asked by Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) if the administration would follow the GAO’s recommendation, Secretary Sebelius stated she has “no intention of canceling the project.”

Here’s a reminder of what the GAO thinks of this “demonstration project”:

GAO, the investigative agency of Congress, did not address GOP allegations that the bonuses are politically motivated. But, its report found the program highly unusual. It “dwarfs” all other Medicare pilots undertaken in nearly 20 years, the GAO said.

Most of the bonus money is going to plans that receive three to three-and-half stars out of a possible five stars on Medicare’s quality rating scale, the report said.

Available through 2014, the bonuses will soften much of the initial impact of the Medicare Advantage cuts, acting like a temporary reprieve.

This year, for example, the bonus program offset about 70 percent of the cuts in the health care law. Indeed, Medicare Advantage enrollment is up by 10 percent and premiums have gone down on average.

But GAO questioned whether the bonus program will achieve its goal of finding better incentives to promote quality. “The design of the demonstration precludes a credible evaluation of its effectiveness in achieving (the administration’s) stated research goal.”

So Sebelius wants to spend over eight billion dollars on a “demonstration project” whose design makes it impossible to evaluate, which just coincidentally provides some political cover for the White House just before seniors go to the polls in the presidential election, and which won’t actually improve care.  Did anyone expect anything different from Chicago-sur-le-Potomac?


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And Debbie Wassamatterwitherhair Schultz says the Ryan Plan eliminates Medicare as we know it.

Seems they’ve accomplished that with Obamacare.

Kini on April 26, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Heh……. The Honorable!

ThePrez on April 26, 2012 at 5:24 PM

It’s hard to imagine that 8 billion could cover the effects of a 200 billion cut.

Cindy Munford on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

General comment to the entire Obama administration:

The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end

BobMbx on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

I hope the next AG indicts the entire previous admin.

tim c on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Cunning Stunt!

400lb Gorilla on April 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

You know who this benefits? Mitt Romney!

dczombie on April 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Well, there she goes again. The dems simply and only care about their power. Between this, the EPA, the FCC, the DoJ, the Bureau of labor propaganda, GSA and the rest, does anyone else see our government for what it has turned into?

dogsoldier on April 26, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Cunning Stunt!

400lb Gorilla on April 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

More like a Cunning Runt. Despicable, the whole miserable horde of them. Absolutely despicable.

Rixon on April 26, 2012 at 5:31 PM

What a lovely woman.

/

50sGuy on April 26, 2012 at 5:31 PM

I hope the next AG indicts the entire previous admin.

tim c on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

With Romney in the driver’s seat, I’m not expecting that much of a change.

Things may be a little better than they are now, but not a whole lot better.

I sure hope I’m wrong about that.

UltimateBob on April 26, 2012 at 5:32 PM

“Old Horseface’s” father (John Gilligan) was one of the worst governors in Ohio history. He lasted one term. It appears Ohioans of the 1970s were far smarter than Kansans of the 21st century.

bw222 on April 26, 2012 at 5:33 PM

When Kathleen Sebellius become honorable? They need new signs in the House – something like abortionphile, communist inspired, POS Kathleen Sebellius.

Smedley on April 26, 2012 at 5:34 PM

These Democrats are like cockroaches that go scurrying for dark hiding places when anyone turns on the lights. Just once, I’d like to see the president and/or his administration stand up and show a little backbone and acknowledge what they have dumped on the U.S.

parke on April 26, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I hope this woman will not be on my death panel…

d1carter on April 26, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Seeing that sign in front of her with the title “The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius” is just sickening. These people act like they are royalty and we are their slave minions. She and her pompopus boss are disgusting and there is nothing honorable about either one of them.

Susanboo on April 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

First, Madame Secretary, do you eat dogs..?

d1carter on April 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Yeah…. But but Romney would be a disaster.

These fascists have big plans for us if PBHO gets reelected. Big plans.

Bishop on April 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

pompous, LOL!

Susanboo on April 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

This just illustrates the contempt that this regime has for seniors. We are so stupid and ill-informed that will cause us to rush out en masse to vote for this slug. I don’t believe is will happen.

FirelandsO3 on April 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

So,,,all the elected criminals and the courts are going to let the unelected pukes just keep spending/throwing away/wasting/ our money on smoke and mirror bs. Real profiles in courage that bunch in DC.

retiredeagle on April 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Am I the only one who thinks Sebelius was lying?

arnold ziffel on April 26, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Obvious bait and switch tactic, that’s too clever for Dem’s to see through.

SMACKRUNNER on April 26, 2012 at 5:44 PM

They have AARP to tell seniors what to think…

jodetoad on April 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM

More like a Cunning Runt. Despicable, the whole miserable horde of them. Absolutely despicable.

Rixon on April 26, 2012 at 5:31 PM

What’s the difference between a bunch of Pigmies and a woman’s track team?

Hint: Pigmies are a bunch of cunning runts.

timberline on April 26, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Sebelius is the one, who as Governor of Kansas, complained that she could not react to tornado damage because Bush had all of her National Guard troops in Iraq. It turned out that 90% were still available. This was the tornado that Obama claimed killed 10,000 people when it hit a town of 1500, but who is counting?

FirelandsO3 on April 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Delaying till the Election,a Deliberate Democrat Perception/Deception Operation!!!!

canopfor on April 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM

“Rules? Laws? Those are for sheep.”

-The honorable POS

iurockhead on April 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM

You know who this benefits? Mitt Romney!
dczombie on April 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Yes, but only if he, his PAC, or the GOP has the savvy and fortitude to call Obama & Sebelius on it — loudly & often. Which I doubt they will.

KS Rex on April 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Sibelius translation.

“Screw you.

We fully intend to spend 8 Billion Dollars ($8,000,000,000.00) of taxpayers’ money on a pretextual fake “test project” so that Medicare Advantage users won’t learn we are screwing them with Obamacare until after the election. You can’t stop us. The Flying Monkey Media won’t tell on us. Nobody is paying attention to your stupid hearing or the Government Accounting Office.

So remember the words of President Obama: “I won.”

And shut up.”

novaculus on April 26, 2012 at 5:53 PM

These fascists have big plans for us if PBHO gets reelected. Big plans.

Bishop on April 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Bishop:Obama will think hes got a Mandate to ram,anything through!

Hopey will be 10 Fold as Bold if he gets re-elected
(Gawd-Forbid)!:)

canopfor on April 26, 2012 at 5:55 PM

So is the Romney going to get $8 billion from Sebelius’s budget in matching funds for his campaign?

Seems only fair.

malclave on April 26, 2012 at 5:57 PM

With Romney in the driver’s seat, I’m not expecting that much of a change.

Things may be a little better than they are now, but not a whole lot better.

I sure hope I’m wrong about that.

UltimateBob on April 26, 2012 at 5:32 PM

This is why Conservatives have to win the House and Senate back. No strong conserative could have survived the media bias of a nationwide general election, but conservative Congress critters and Senators CAN win.

Romney will then have to sign what they send him. Just like Pelosi’s Congress ran Obama’s agenda, a conservative house and senate is where we make a difference.

End up with “soft democrats” for GOP in the House and Senate and that’s the way we’ll go. Presidents can push on the steering wheel and provide SOME gas or brake, but make no mistake who’s driving.

PastorJon on April 26, 2012 at 5:57 PM

cripe….

cmsinaz on April 26, 2012 at 5:58 PM

They will continue to push Obamacare regardless of whatever the Supreme Court decides.

rickyricardo on April 26, 2012 at 6:01 PM

They are all walking and talking turds!…aren’t they?
This one… just gets her roots done.

KOOLAID2 on April 26, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Obviously her nameplate, “The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius,” is FALSE ADVERTISING.

NOTE TO SENATE: Make sure that this is added at the end of the 2000 page Bill of Impeachment.

landlines on April 26, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Where did these funds arise? Were they part of the PPACA that Nanzi required be affirmatively voted upon to reveal its contents or were they split off from Medicare funds to be administered in this venal, opaque fashion? How does an administration acquire $8.3B in slush funds?
.
New York Post, link above:

Obama can temporarily prop up Medicare Advantage long enough to get re-elected by exploiting an obscure bit of federal law. Under a 1967 statute, the HHS secretary can spend money without specific approval by Congress on “experiments” directly aimed at “increasing the efficiency and economy of health services.”

Oh, I get it now, the bold part is above reveals the use of opacity by the Øbama administration of which the ordinary citizen is not aware. I guess some real “experiments” or “demonstration projects” are going wanting for funds, aren’t they? Over $8B for experiments – these socialists have really been looting the treasury, haven’t they? For more than four decades…

ExpressoBold on April 26, 2012 at 6:08 PM

SpendySebilicous!!

,,,not!!

canopfor on April 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM

cripe….

cmsinaz on April 26, 2012 at 5:58 PM

cmsinaz:And how….!:)

canopfor on April 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Sorry Congress, you are no longer needed. You have allowed all the power to be usurped by the presidential office. The president directly controls all the dozens of agencies, and they can make laws without you but of course they call them regulations. The president and the agencies can do anything with or without your approval. You guys can go home now.

Axion on April 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM

$8 billion slush fund? I thought they were trying to create a slut fund.

antipc on April 26, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Too bad this isn’t an election year…

Seven Percent Solution on April 26, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Too bad the House of Representatives doesn’t control the money…

Seven Percent Solution on April 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Hey! Eight BILLION can buy a lot of votes!

GarandFan on April 26, 2012 at 6:33 PM

This is why Conservatives have to win the House and Senate back. No strong conserative could have survived the media bias of a nationwide general election, but conservative Congress critters and Senators CAN win.
PastorJon on April 26, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Which is where the real damage will happen in an Obama second term. Either through a passed Fairness Doctrine or an Exec Order directly to the FCC to implement it (which then will fight through courts for years until Obama’s next couple of appointments to the Supreme Court are in place).

While it is easy to see the big losers (obviously other than just those who believe in the First Amendment) – Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin et al who will be off the air- the future is then also lost in a number of places as a good amount of support for local candidates who then grow into potential national figures also gets cut off and they then are subject to just the local MSMs decision on what they chose to report.

If it weren’t for talk radio here in Wisconsin Walker would likely be in a big hole – or never have been elected in the first place- as the major media is against him on principle. Once there is nowhere to go to counter lies and spin though the battles will be lost in many places before the right can even try to organize.

Betenoire on April 26, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Where is angryed to rail against this obvious (and wholly political) waste of taxpayer money?

RedCrow on April 26, 2012 at 6:37 PM

If we had an actual free and independent press, These corrupt democrats would never get away with it.. as it is, they trained almost a half of the country to automatically discount anything republicans and conservatives say… even with pictures and signed confessions.. they are taught republicans lie..

That same lapdog media repeats democrat talking points without question.. Case in point, Wasserman Schultz would be laughed off any honest news program..

but she practically owns MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN.

mark81150 on April 26, 2012 at 6:41 PM

WOW.

Mitt thinks he can beat a man that has Trillions in his warchest?

I mean here is an 8.3 Billion donation who’s only purpose is to help re-elect Obama.

Course Mitt is too smart to think any such thing his only thought is.

Republicans sure are stupid.

Steveangell on April 26, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Where the hell is Boehner? Why aren’t they screaming this from the roof top of the capital whore house? Everyone of the R’s in Congress should go on every talk show in the spectrum and tell what the crooked bunch of thugs in BHO’s administration are doing. God I would like to vote them all out! This is called BIG walking around money.

inspectorudy on April 26, 2012 at 6:48 PM

General comment to the entire Obama administration:

The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end

BobMbx on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

I have thought that very quote for so long now.

Alana on April 26, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Smooth. I see why Bernie Madoff flew so high so long and still managed to be under SEC radar.
I’m suffering Alinsky alienation. Well at least for the last three years anywho. Barney is Frank. Kathleen is honorable. Sandra Fluke is the virgin mother. And Barry is god/kind and benevolent master.
This woman is stealing our children’s future but first she will be killing our grandchildren. Can someone please grow a couple or at least pretend your Hillary Clinton for half a day and back this horrible crook up just a little?
Is there someone, is there anyone willing to be the Roman legion that takes Kathleen like a Turkish village!?
Second term or not Blagovich will be home for Xmas :(

onomo on April 26, 2012 at 6:53 PM

I hope the next AG indicts the entire previous admin.

tim c on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

All the residential pardons have long been issued, signed and stored in safety deposit boxes by now. There will be no one to answer for the deeds.

riddick on April 26, 2012 at 6:55 PM

The Dem’s have become nothing more then the American Communist party. The central committee is less then 10% of the people(as it was in Russia) yet anything legal, ethical or other wise goes as long as the party is maintained (as in Russia). The purpose of the party is to maintain, protect and to provide for the loyal party members. Truth and honesty have been replaced with obstruction, misdirection and out right lies(as it was in Russia). They can not stand against the truth and a free and open telling of the facts. This is our defense against them.

jpcpt03 on April 26, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Can we talk about impeachment yet?

Mr Snuggle Bunny on April 26, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Too bad the House of Representatives doesn’t control the money…

Seven Percent Solution on April 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM

I tried to explain this to some here on HA, they don’t get it. Had Boehner had just one ethical bone in his body he’d be convening the House and voting not to release that money.

riddick on April 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Where is angryed to rail against this obvious (and wholly political) waste of taxpayer money?

RedCrow on April 26, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Those fly wings aren’t gonna pull themselves off….

BigWyo on April 26, 2012 at 7:20 PM

have faith friends, this woman will roast because God doesn’t particularly care for baby killers…she may as well be running a planned parenthood clinic…

crosshugger on April 26, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Face it: there are no rules anymore. Every drive-by media outlet will use every bit of their influence and the boyz in the WH will use every Chicago-style dirty trick in the book to keep the first half-black / half-wit president in office.

This is the result of 50 years of government school propaganda and 40 years of racial quotas: the death of America.

PD Quig on April 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Amusing that Sebelius has a sign in front of her saying “The Honorable…”

Honorable, my ass. Never met an honorable lying scumbag communist… because there aren’t any… certainly not her.

Danny on April 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM

This is the result of 50 years of government school propaganda and 40 years of racial quotas: the death of America.

PD Quig on April 26, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Nailed it!

Tim Zank on April 26, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Just following the boss’s example to defy and disobey the letter of every law and disrespect the Constitution and the citizens of the United States of America at every turn.

stukinIL4now on April 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM

And that, my friends, is how you buy 5 million votes.

goflyers on April 26, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Can’t wait for that incompetent fool to go back to baking cookies and having teas………

ultracon on April 26, 2012 at 9:04 PM

(The demonstration project) “dwarfs” all other Medicare pilots undertaken in nearly 20 years, the GAO said.

Uh, huh. And just where did the Executive branch get access to BILLIONS of tax dollars to do ‘experiments?’

From Ed’s earlier post on this subject:

“Certainly, the Congress that passed the 1967 statute didn’t foresee that a federal agency could aggregate $8 billion (about $1.24 billion in 1967 dollars, roughly) by itself for “experiments,” but the law along with the massive amounts of money appropriated to HHS makes this possible. The money came from ObamaCare itself, thanks to Democrats who created a structure that allowed HHS to write all of the laws and spend money without much accountability for the way it will be used.”

And let me guess; if SCOTUS strikes down Obamacare as unconstitutional, this administration will be eager to pay back that $8 billion into the Treasury.

locomotivebreath1901 on April 26, 2012 at 9:20 PM

It’s hard to imagine that 8 billion could cover the effects of a 200 billion cut.

Cindy Munford on April 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM

I think it’s because they only have to cover it for about a month. The cuts are supposed to kick in this October. They just have to hide them until November 6th. It’s hard to say how much impact it will have either way-it’s not like medical bills get processed rapidly. It can take 6 months to get a final denial. I don’t know that some degree of stopping payment in October will definitely have an impact on the November elections anyway.

To me this is just typical of the Obama administration’s corruption and dishonesty. They truly are planning to use this money as a slush fund/bribe, rather than to improve quality of care, lying about it the entire time (even though it may not have that much of an impact). In the same way, the whole democratic party is lying about “saving” Medicare by ignoring its insolvency until it is too late to preserve any of the good aspects of the program.

talkingpoints on April 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Time to return to the cash and barter system and cut the crap!

ActinUpinTexas on April 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM

talkingpoints on April 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM

How very sleazy! This needs lots of publicity.

Cindy Munford on April 26, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Open, Naked and Unmitigated Agression In TAKING POWER from The People!!!

DISGUSTING!!!

williamg on April 26, 2012 at 11:33 PM

The thing is, very few people are going to pay enough attention to understand the details of this. All they’re going to hear is that the Democrats want to spend more on Medicare and the Republicans want to cut Medicare. For Obama, this is a win-win situation. The only thing it hurts is the future, and what makes anyone think Obama cares about that?

Jeff A on April 27, 2012 at 6:44 AM

That picture is hilarious because the sign says “honorable” before Kathleen Sebelius. LOL

jeffn21 on April 27, 2012 at 8:20 AM

When Kathleen Sebellius become honorable? They need new signs in the House – something like abortionphile, communist inspired, POS Kathleen Sebellius.

Smedley on April 26, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I prefer: Kathleen Sebelius, personal friend to and campaign donation recipient of third trimestor abortionist George Tiller.

cptacek on April 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I’m picturing an ad similar to the “Ryan throws grandma over the cliff” ad. Only its the Affordable Care Act that’s responsible for pushing grandma towards the cliff… Until the Hero President steps in, “You can’t throw grandma off the cliff! I forbid it! There’s an election coming up (and I need the votes)!” He gives grandma a little cash to tide her over for now, then whispers to the guy pushing the wheelchair, “You can finish the job after the election.”

taznar on April 27, 2012 at 10:05 AM

The end cannot come soon enough to this bunch of hooligans!

avagreen on April 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Has anyone noticed that most of the woman in this administration are kind of wacky.

Pomai on April 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The thing is, very few people are going to pay enough attention to understand the details of this. All they’re going to hear is that the Democrats want to spend more on Medicare and the Republicans want to cut Medicare. For Obama, this is a win-win situation. The only thing it hurts is the future, and what makes anyone think Obama cares about that?

Jeff A on April 27, 2012 at 6:44 AM

Aaaaaand there it is….

obama can claim that he increased medicare spending, and he can even put a single year dollar amount on it, and he’ll actually be telling the truth (such as it is).

The republicans can’t hope to get any traction with this issue. As corrupt as this move is, obama simply can’t lose with it. And he knows it. And so do we. Complain all you like, it will not lose him (or gain the republicans) a single vote. Quite the opposite.

runawayyyy on April 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Kathleen “no fetus left behind” Sebelius is evil incarnate… along with Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett. Was Obama born with a knack for finding these people? Or did they find him?

Colony14 on April 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM