WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08), U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) are requesting detailed information from top government health officials regarding the $3 billion drug price-setting implementation fund included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Without oversight, the $3 billion fund will likely result in further wasteful government expansion and bureaucratic bloat, raising concerns about a lack of program integrity, worsening the deficit, and bad governance.
In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Brooks-LaSure, the members note the partisan IRA directs a “baffling $3 billion to the implementation of misguided price controls,” but provides no reporting requirements or other safeguards with respect to the implementation funding.
From the letter:
We write to request information and regular updates on how the Biden Administration plans to allocate, apply, and monitor this staggering sum moving forward. By sidestepping regular order and bypassing the standard appropriations process, proponents of the IRA set aside billions in taxpayer dollars with no reporting requirements or tools to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
Particularly given the prevalence of improper payments within the Medicare program, the absence of safeguards or oversight regarding this new $3 billion fund raises major concerns. Moreover, a number of experts and analysts have questioned the need for such inordinate administrative spending, given the lack of any apparent rational basis for the funding level. Congress has an obligation to ensure accountability with respect to taxpayer dollars.
The members request recurring briefings and status updates on how the Biden Administration has used, and plans to use, the $3 billion administrative funding moving forward.
Read the full letter here.