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Ways and Means Committee Leaders to Obama Administration: Show Us the Money

August 09, 2012

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA), and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA), called on Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Gene Dodaro to produce a detailed accounting of how funds at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been used to implement programs and systems that are not related to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Recent actions by the Obama Administration have raised questions that monies are being diverted from Medicare and Medicaid, and those funds are instead being used to cover costs associated with implementation of the Democrats’ health care law.

In a letter to Comptroller General Dodaro, the Chairmen cited a decision earlier this year by Obama Administration officials to move the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), the agency tasked with implementing much of the Democrats’ health care law, into a business unit within CMS.  The change has raised concerns that CCIIO’s spending will be more difficult to track and, that absent such transparency, the agency will use Medicare and Medicaid funds to cover the costs of implementing the health care law.  News accounts have echoed that concern reporting that, “By embedding the CCIIO within CMS, which administers the multi-hundred-billion-dollar Medicare and Medicaid programs, the administration should have greater ease finding funds within CMS to enable CCIIO to operate than as part of the HHS secretary’s office, observers said.”

The Chairmen highlighted the impact of diverting funds specifically designated for serving Medicare and Medicare recipients writing, “CMS currently serves nearly 100 million of America’s most vulnerable – seniors, those with disabilities, and the poor.  We are concerned that the diversion of funds and other resources that are intended to serve these vulnerable populations will have far reaching consequences on Medicare and Medicaid program operations.”

The Chairmen requested that GAO provide a full financial audit of CMS funds used for CCIIO-related activities, including spending related to travel, salaries and advertising.  All materials pertaining to the request are detailed in the letter and are to be turned over to the Ways and Means Committee by October 15, 2012.