GAO

GAO: ObamaCare could add $6.2 trillion to national debt

There is some more bad news for ObamaCare. According to a recently released report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO), the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — could cost taxpayers dearly in the long-term if cost-savings measures don’t work as intended.

The report, which was requested by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, explains that the “effect of PPACA on the long-term fiscal outlook depends largely on whether elements designed to control cost growth are sustained.”

“Overall, there was notable improvement in the longer-term outlook after the enactment of PPACA under our Fall 2010 Baseline Extended simulation, which, consistent with federal law at the time the simulation was run, assumed the full implementation and effectiveness of the costcontainment provisions over the entire 75-year simulation period,” noted the GAO. “In contrast, the long-term outlook in the Fall 2010 Alternative simulation worsened slightly compared to our January 2010 simulation. This is largely due to the fact that cost-containment mechanisms specified in PPACA are assumed to phase out over time while the additional costs associated with expanding federal health care coverage remain.”

The baseline scenario is used by the government budget officials to determine the the cost effects of current law. However, the alternative scenario gauges budget implications based on past behavior of Congress, such as its proclivity for bypassing scheduled Medicare payments to doctors (also known as the “doc fix”).

White House helped pro-Obamacare group raise funds

White House

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report yesterday that offered some light on the Obama administration’s efforts to raise money for an outside group, Enroll America, to promote Obamacare.

Outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was an already known figure in the push for funding for Enroll America. But the GAO report reveals that the efforts go all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

The White House allegedly was involved in seeking financial support for a pro-ObamaCare group, according to a new report issued in response to Republican concerns about the administration’s fundraising efforts.

Until now, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the only official known to have solicited financial support for Enroll America, a nonprofit that promoted enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. But a Government Accountability Office report released Monday detailed not only the secretary’s involvement but that of a White House adviser.

According to the report, though HHS officials said they were “not aware” of any federal government officials outside the agency soliciting funds for Enroll America, a representative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation told GAO “about a discussion” in 2012 between one of their staffers and the “Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy.”

Though not named in the report, this would have been Jeanne Lambrew. The GAO said they were told the official nudged the foundation to give a “significant” contribution.

Report: Eliminating duplication in federal government could save taxpayers $45 billion

money down the drain

Most politicians like to beat on their chests when it comes to eliminating government waste and unnecessarily programs. But when it comes to actually doing it, they sound a lot like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who had the audacity to claim last year that “the cupboard is bare,” adding that “[t]here’s no more cuts to make.”

The fact is that there’s plenty of cuts that could be made, and the federal government could save taxpayers billions of dollars just by eliminating duplication. That, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan federal audit agency.

The GAO report identified 26 areas of fragmentation, duplication, or overlapping federal programs that, according to the report “span a broad range of government missions and functions.” That is in addition to the 162 areas identified in previous reports.

To give you an idea of how nonsensical the federal government is, the report, for example, found that 11 different agencies did autism research from FY 2008 to FY 2012. The funds awarded to these agencies totaled nearly $1.2 billion.

Another example is overlapping disability and unemployment payments. Simple reforms to address this problem would save taxpayers $1.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who sponsored the law which requires the annual audit, said the areas identified in the report could taxpayers $45 billion over the next five years, adding to potential savings already identified by the GAO.

Cruz backs Paul on Audit the Fed vote

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced on Wednesday that he is backing Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as he tries to leverage his hold on the nomination of Janet Yellen to serve as the next chair of the Federal Reserve for a vote on legislation that would require an audit of the nation’s central bank.

“I agree with Rand Paul: before the Senate votes on whether to confirm Janet Yellen, we should at the very least allow a vote on the Audit the Fed bill,” said Cruz in a statement from his office. “The Federal Reserve has expanded our money supply by trillions, benefitting Wall Street but making life harder for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.”

“Never-ending quantitative easing threatens to undermine the dollar and to drive up prices on everyday goods from food to gasoline to the basic necessities of life. We need to bring transparency to the Fed, so the American people can understand the scope and consequences of its policies,” he added.

Paul announced his intention last month to place a hold on Yellen’s confirmation until Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) allowed the Federal Reserve Transparency Act to come to the floor for a vote.

“I will object to any unanimous consent agreement or the waiver of any rule with respect to the nomination of Dr. Yellen without a vote on S. 209,” Paul told Reid in a letter. “I know you have been a support of similar legislation in the past, and I hope that we can work together to pass this important legislation.”

74% of Americans Support Audit the Fed

While the Fed keeps on adding zeroes to its balance sheet in order to carry on with its monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds, Americans become increasingly skeptical of the Federal Reserve chairman’s overbearing power over the country’s economy.

The monetary policy known as Quantitative Easing hasn’t improved economical growth. Its impact is mainly negative to common Americans who are affected by the overall price increase caused by the devaluation of our currency. We are becoming increasingly dependent on Wall Street for economic boost and entrepreneurs, the only job creators we should be supporting, are not as confident as they could be thanks to the heavy-handed governmental interference.

According to the latest Rasmussen Report, 74% of Americans support auditing the Federal Reserve precisely because of the failure of its latest policies. They also want the results of the audit to be made public.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) could put these recent reports concerning the public support to good use to pressure a vote on the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, legislation that was first introduced by his father, former congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), that would audit the central bank. On October 29th, the senator from Kentucky announced he was planning on placing a hold on the new Fed chair nominee Janet Yellen to try and force a vote on his bill.

The bill would increase transparency at the central bank by authorizing the Government Accountability Office to investigate how the central bank implements its monetary policy.

70% of voters support individual mandate delay

The problems with the federal Obamacare exchange website have driven even more Americans to back a one year delay of the individual mandate, a controversial provision of the law that requires virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance coverage.

Rand Paul to place hold on Fed chair nominee

Janet Yellen

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has informed Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) of his intention to place a hold on Federal Reserve chair nominee, Dr. Janet Yellen, until the chamber votes on S. 209, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act.

“I am writing to convey my objection to floor consideration of the nomination of Dr. Janet Yellen to Chair the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve without also considering legislation to bring much-needed transparency to the Fed,” wrote Paul in a letter to Reid, delivering on a threat he made last week.

Outrageous proposal brings huge subsidies to luxury beach houses

No matter their stated ideologies, overwhelming majorities of Americans would agree in principle that the government should try to help the vulnerable and poor before it lifts a finger to help the well off In forwarding a new proposal that she has tucked into a spending bill, Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has egregiously crashed this nigh-universal principle. In particular, Landrieu proposes charging almost four and a half million Americans more to take part in the National Flood Insurance Program so that people who can afford second homes will pay less. Her proposal is so outrageous, indeed, that it deserves universal scorn from every one of her colleagues in Congress.

Senator Slams Government Ammo Purchases, Wants Probe on Effect on Consumers

ammunition

If you’ve read the Drudge Report at all over the past several months, you know that ammunition is flying off the shelves at an alarming pace. Part of the reason for high-demand is reaction consumer reaction to President Barack Obama’s push for new gun control.

The other aspect is that the federal government is buying up a lot of ammunition, which some claim is a scheme to dry up supply. Some of this is myth — some is fact. But with reports that the Department of Homeland Security will purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next five years, some in Congress are speaking out.

In a radio interview over the weekend, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) expressed concern over the ammunition purchases and touched on legislation that he has introduced that would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine the effect the government is having on ammunition supply:

Duplicative Government Programs Are a Symptom of the Problem

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

The Government Accountability Office has released its third annual report on fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative federal programs and activities. Proponents of making the government more efficient view the findings as an opportunity to achieve cost savings. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with the government spending less money than it has to, the goal should be to permanently shut the trains down – not just try to get them to run on time.

Some examples:

 
 


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