Video: GOP calling for independent watchdog for ObamaCare

posted at 4:01 pm on March 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

With all of the discussion of ObamaCare’s failures, incompetencies, and flat-out lies, there has been a lot of head-scratching over accountability. No one has lost their job at HHS, for instance, for the faceplant of Healthcare.gov, not even the contractor responsible, which still has ongoing work on the project. In part, this is because no one in the administration wants to admit that anything’s seriously amiss, even though HHS will miss their enrollment target of 7 million by a wide margin — and that goal was exceedingly modest in the first place, after years of Democratic insistence that 40 million or more uninsured needed to get coverage.

There are structural reasons for the lack of accountability, too. Since ObamaCare is a multi-jurisdictional effort, no one agency in the government has oversight on the entire, sprawling mess. The Inspectors General of HHS and Treasury can only look within their own structures, which allows for stovepiping and structural disconnects for accountability. Rep. Peter Roskam wants to take a page from TARP and create a new oversight agency, and explained it today to Larry Kudlow on CNBC:

The concept is a very simple one – follow the money and give an independent oversight agent, that is a Special Inspector General, the capacity to go across all of these jurisdictional lines. Because here’s the limitations right now: the Health and Human Services Inspector General can only ask HHS questions; Treasury can only ask Treasury questions. And there’s dozens of agencies that are involved in Obamacare and no one single entity has the capacity to ask all of the questions. This will be a money saver. …

It all begs the question, which is, who watching this whole scene? And the answer is nobody is watching the whole scene in totality…the reality, Larry, is that the Administration has so wedded itself to Obamacare, a signature piece of legislation for the president, that they don’t have that dispassionate interest in trying to get to the bottom of things. They are really interested in covering up and patching through, and coming up with a whole hodgepodge approach. And the net result is – it’s individual citizens and individual businesses that are really suffering. …

I think Obamacare is a house of cards that is collapsing as it is being built. The trouble is that, as it is being built and as it is collapsing at the same time, it’s injuring people and it’s having an adverse impact on the economy. You cannot get straight answers from this Administration, which is why you need an independent oversight organization, or a Special Inspector General, that has the breadth and capacity to get and cut through all the nonsense and go from one department to the other department to put all of the pieces together to find out what’s what.

Roskam offered legislation nearly two weeks ago, titled Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act (SIGMA), to duplicate the kind of accountability that TARP eventually had. That’s not to say that the TARP’s IG managed to eliminate the waste and incompetence that went into that program, but Neil Barofsky did offer plenty of sunlight on just how badly the TARP-related pieces of Obamanomics performed.

Roskam reminded National Review readers of the kind of accountability IGs can provide when truly independent:

Recent special inspectors general have been remarkably successful. Beginning in 2004, the Special Inspectors General for Iraq (SIGIR) and Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) have produced $645 million and $480 million in direct taxpayer savings, respectively. And since 2008, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) has used the broad investigative powers provided by Congress to rack up 122 convictions, 75 suspensions and debarments of federal contractors and employees, and $533 million in direct taxpayer savings. At $700 billion, the jurisdiction of SIGTARP was the largest to date, but that program pales in comparison to the $1.8 trillion in costs under Obamacare.

Don’t expect the White House to welcome SIGMA with open arms. Then-Senator Obama was certainly enthusiastic about SIGTARP, but that was before accountability applied to him and his team. House Republicans should demand this from Senate Democrats — and then demand a public explanation when they oppose it.


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Yeah, good luck with that…

climbnjump on March 19, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Why is there so little discussion about the Ocare tax on “Cadillac” plans? You know, the so called luxury plans that somehow half the US who get there insurance through their employers have? Most of them will dump the plans and move people to High Deductible plans with little or no savings on premiums.

Rocks on March 19, 2014 at 4:06 PM

It’s called the American public!

The GOP – jeepers !!!

jake-the-goose on March 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Pass the enabling legislation in the House. I’m sure Harry Reid’s Senate will be glad to take it up.

Oh, wait…

trigon on March 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Why is there so little discussion about the Ocare tax on “Cadillac” plans? You know, the so called luxury plans that somehow half the US who get there insurance through their employers have? Most of them will dump the plans and move people to High Deductible plans with little or no savings on premiums.

Rocks on March 19, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Because most of those that hold Cadillac plans are greedy union workers?

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.

libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM

House Republicans should demand this from Senate Democrats — and then demand a public explanation when they oppose it.

Getting ready for open mic night at a comedy club?

cozmo on March 19, 2014 at 4:10 PM

I’ll check back on this later, going outside to see if any pigs fly by.

Farnsworth on March 19, 2014 at 4:11 PM

It’s called the American public!

jake-the-goose on March 19, 2014 at 4:08 PM

EXACTLY! Why don’t you see that with Roberts?

cozmo on March 19, 2014 at 4:11 PM

I thought that was Kathleen Cerberus’ job.

Flange on March 19, 2014 at 4:13 PM

So, let’s add more bureaucracy to the burdensome bureaucracy – instead of scrapping the problem bureaucracy.
Ya – that’ll solve everything….

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Obama fears the GOP like Putin fears Obama! They both have the state press on their side and govern over a mostly clueless populace!!

Deano1952 on March 19, 2014 at 4:17 PM

If this is the best idea the GOP can spit out, maybe the GOP haters over on the Romney thread are right – perhaps they just aren’t worth voting for any more.

dentarthurdent on March 19, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Never gets old…

JusDreamin on March 19, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Why the h-ll don’t they just defund it? Why are they alwys doing the opposite of what the people want?

crankyoldlady on March 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Can an IG do anything about the new standards of an insurance policy?You don’t have any coverage until the high deductibles are met.People will be getting sicker because of putting off doctor visits for high bills for each trip.Sure an IG can root out fraud, theft and save taxpayers money but sicker people cost more.Hospitals and doctors are going to lose revenue in the long run due to fewer patients.The level 1 hospital the wife works at is already seeing it.

docflash on March 19, 2014 at 4:25 PM

If somebody came up and down my neighborhood “Calling”, “Calling”, “Calling” for something or other, he’d look like an idiot.

Call out the military to get rid of a dictator or to capture and hang the top dogs at the IRS, the EPA and NLRB (and other alphabet soup agencies) and you might get some attention.

Ruckus_Tom on March 19, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Obama fears the GOP like Putin fears Obama! They both have the state press on their side and govern over a mostly clueless populace!!

Deano1952 on March 19, 2014 at 4:17 PM

…+1

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 4:35 PM

No one cares.

Bmore on March 19, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Sorry. Should read. Too few care.

Bmore on March 19, 2014 at 4:37 PM

“…this isn’t that fight either.” – Mitch McConnell

Meople on March 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM

No one has lost their job at HHS, for instance, for the faceplant of Healthcare.gov, not even the contractor responsible, which still has ongoing work on the project.

In the “everybody gets a participation trophy” we can’t hold anyone accountable. It might hurt someone’s feelings.

What’s next, keeping score in sports?

rbj on March 19, 2014 at 4:40 PM

EXACTLY! Why don’t you see that with Roberts?

cozmo on March 19, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Because it’s not obama who’s to blame, it’s the stupid maj. of the nation of idiots. They brung him…twice.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Excellent news. A strongly worded letter should do it.

But PLEASE!, make sure is polls well first. And, don’t let some loony trucon like Cruz write it!

If the letter polls well with key identity groups that the gopE has been recently targeting, then go for it!

BoxHead1 on March 19, 2014 at 4:43 PM

I’ll check back on this later, going outside to see if any pigs fly by.

Farnsworth on March 19, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Perhaps you will see some cows coming home?

kringeesmom on March 19, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Can an IG do anything about the new standards of an insurance policy?You don’t have any coverage until the high deductibles are met.People will be getting sicker because of putting off doctor visits for high bills for each trip.Sure an IG can root out fraud, theft and save taxpayers money but sicker people cost more.Hospitals and doctors are going to lose revenue in the long run due to fewer patients.The level 1 hospital the wife works at is already seeing it.

docflash on March 19, 2014 at 4:25 PM

If you want to arbitrarily lower the deductibles in Obamacare policies, then the premiums will have to be increased. There’s no ‘free’ healthcare.

I have no fundamental problem with high deductibles. They make customers more sensitive to the costs of healthcare, and might for example lead them to rightly question needless and expensive tests and procedures.

Where I do have a problem is with the piece-of-crap Obamacare killing off good quality low deductible reasonably-priced health insurance, calling those policies ‘substandard’ and then selling new piece-of-crap Obamacare policies with high deductibles AND with far higher premiums.

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Accountability goes hand in hand with transparency in this administration. Neither exists.

scalleywag on March 19, 2014 at 5:58 PM

The Obama administration will let this happen “when pigs fly”.

Why doesn’t the RNC (of course, I know they are mostly big business dolts) or better yet, the Republican Governor Association
appoint their own investigation and hammer the hell out of what is wrong with this debacle in news articles, websites and media across the country. Just in time for 2014….then 2016.

Amjean on March 19, 2014 at 7:03 PM