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True Obamacare Implementation Costs Exposed by Congressman Kingston
Posted by on March 13, 2014
Congressman Kingston Prepared Opening Statement
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
I would first like to highlight some concerns I have found in your budget submission to Congress. First, the Administration’s budget proposed to spend $56 billion over the agreed upon budget caps, proposes to shift many programs from the discretionary side of the budget to the mandatory ledger, and relies on user fees to fund programs such as a $1.2 billion Obamacare user fee. These budget gimmicks are a disingenuous approach to federal budgeting and disguise the true cost of your proposals to the American people.
Most concerning is the out of control spending on Obamacare. Last year, you estimated the cost of implementing Obamacare was between $5 billion and $10 billion for HHS and all other agencies.
In spite of this incredibly vague range, it’s clear based on your new budget request, this figure is greatly underestimated.
All of this totals $2.2 billion; $643 million more than last year, an increase of 41% over the FY 2014 level.
But then I read further and see there are many more costs to administer the program that don’t show up in the discretionary budget. These include funds to operate State Exchanges, the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, the Transitional Reinsurance Program, the Risk Adjustment Program, and redistribution of funds through the Risk Corridors program.
Based on the full request, it appears it costs taxpayers more than $23 billion in FY15 to run Obamacare. This is a lot more than the vague $5-$10 billion you quoted last year.
If I can put this $23 billion in context, assuming the Administration reached the optimistic estimate 8 million enrollees, the federal administration burden alone comes out to $3,000 per person.
It’s important to keep in mind that you are asking for all this money to be spent on a law you and the President refuse to implement as written, to be funded through accounts you refuse to be transparent about, and this is all in addition to the increased premiums, deductibles, co-pays, taxes, and penalties Americans are facing because of Obamacare.
This misguided law is over budget, underperforming, and has failed its two objectives to increase access and reduce the cost of care – Obamacare is simply broken. Its performance is in stark contrast to the President’s promise that family premiums were going to be reduced by $2,500 under Obamacare. Your Administration has made over 20 changes to Obamacare including two waivers to the employer mandate, expansion of premium assistance to those outside the federal exchanges, allowing non-compliance health plans, and violating individual rights by mandating abortion coverage. We must remain accountable to the American people.
ICYMI: Failed Maryland Obamacare Exchange Under Investigation
Posted by Greg Dolan on March 12, 2014
The Daily Caller: Maryland’s Obamacare exchange now under federal investigation
Posted By Sarah Hurtubise 03/10/2014
A second state Obamacare exchange is under federal investigation in as many weeks.
The inspector general’s office for the Department of Health and Human Services reportedly told Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris that it will proceed with an investigation into how Maryland’s Obamacare exchange spent copious amounts of federal
Oregon’s Obamacare exchange will also be investigated by the General Accountability Office after a separate request from House Republicans.
Harris requested the investigation last month along with Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston. Both congressmen sit on a House Appropriations subcommittee which oversees HHS.
“Maryland officials ignored early warning signs and chose to waste and abuse federal taxpayer money by opening up what they knew was a flawed exchange to the public,” Harris said in a statement Monday.
The website crashed on day one and has continued to face technical problems ever since. While state lawmakers have opted to continue with the state exchange through the current enrollment period, they’re still considering options for the next round of enrollment beginning in November.
Harris, a former anesthesiologist with John Hopkins Hospital and the state’s only Republican in Congress, lamented the fact that “Maryland has gained national attention as one of the worst roll outs.”
“This whole issue needs way more transparency,” Harris said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The announcement of Maryland’s investigation is the second in less than a week, following the General Accountability Office’s confirmation that it will take up an investigation into Cover Oregon at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s request.
The GAO will investigate Oregon’s operations “as part of a broader study planned to examine states’ health exchange websites,” GAO managing director Katherine Siggerud wrote to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton.
Cover Oregon was awarded $304 million in federal funding for its Obamacare exchange — in addition to $160 million spent in state funding so far — but the website couldn’t support any online enrollment until weeks ago, when it launched limited
Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden applauded the decision to go forward with an investigation.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on this broken website, and taxpayers have little to show for it,” Walden said in a statement. “The GAO will take an independent look into what went wrong…their investigation will help taxpayers get answers about what happened at Cover Oregon and the over $300 million that has been allocated to the state.”
As noted in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s original letter to the GAO, officials were aware of warnings about the website’s problems as far back as November 2011.
Harris similarly charged Maryland officials with “waste and abuse” of taxpayer dollars despite multiple warning signs that the exchange would fail. The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange expects to spend $261 million, over 80 percent of its federal grants, by the end of 2015.
ICYMI: Jack on Fox & Friends: "How do we instill work ethic in the next generation of America?"
Posted by Chris Crawford on December 21, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack appeared on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends on Saturday to talk about how we can instill a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans:
ICYMI: Jack talks work ethic on CNN's New Day
Posted by Chris Crawford on December 20, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack appeared on CNN's New Day to respond to criticism of his recent comments about passing on a strong work ethic to the next generation of Americans. Some have tried to take Jack's comments out of context but his intent is clear: we need to have a discussion about how to pass on a strong work ethic to the next generation of Americans.
Jack's Obamacare Speech Named "One Minute of the Week"
Posted by Chris Crawford on December 15, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack's one minute speech railing against Obamacare was named by the House Republican Conference as the "One Minute of the Week."
Town Hall with FEMA & Georgia DNR
Posted by Ivy Robinson on December 02, 2013
Town Hall with FEMA & Georgia DNR
ICYMI: Jack talks Obamacare Fairness Act on Fox & Friends
Posted by Press Staff on December 01, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to talk about his effort to require the President, Vice President, and their political appointees to purchase health care on Obamacare exchanges. If this Administration wants to force this law on the American people, we should force them to abide by it like everyone else.
6th Biennial Congressional Flag Football Game for Charity
Posted by Ivy Robinson on November 26, 2013
ICYMI: WTVM Highlights Jack's Effort to Institute Work Requirement for Food Stamps
Posted by Chris Crawford on November 06, 2013
In case you missed it, WTVM in Columbus recently highlighted Jack's effort to institute a work requirement for the food stamp program:
In June, the House adopted an amendment cosponsored by Jack that builds on the success of the bipartisan 1996 welfare reforms by allowing states to apply work requirements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
The amendment would require food stamp recipients to participate in one of 12 work activities patterned after the 1996 welfare reform including private sector employment, subsidized employment, community service, or job training. The work requirement would apply to all able-bodied, working-age adults below an age determined by the state, with the exception of those with a federally-qualified disability or those with the sole responsibility for the care of a young child. As an incentive to move participants off of food stamps and into employment, states would receive half the cost savings achieved by reducing its food stamp caseload.
Georgia Delegation Applauds House Passage of Savannah Harbor Expansion Authorization
Posted by Ivy Robinson on October 24, 2013
Georgia Delegation Applauds House Passage Of Savannah Harbor Expansion Authorization
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which authorizes the development and maintenance of the nation’s waterway infrastructure, among other critical projects. The legislation includes a key provision that authorizes the funding necessary for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to move forward. This provision will end a 14 year delay of the project to deepen the harbor from 42 to 47 feet in order to accommodate new supertankers that will soon be coming from the Panama Canal. The expansion of the harbor will ensure it remains a vital piece of the national infrastructure and have a major economic impact on Georgia and the nation.
All 14 House members of the Georgia Congressional delegation voted for WRRDA today, and both of Georgia’s senators voted for the senate version of the bill earlier this year. The following delegation members issued statements applauding the House bill’s authorization of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project:
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), “I am pleased the House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act with bipartisan support from the entire Georgia delegation. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is critically important to our state and local economies, and this bill provides the authorization needed to complete such an important project. I look forward to a deepened harbor and our future export capabilities.”
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1), "Georgia’s deep water ports support 352,000 jobs in our state and service more than 21,000 companies throughout the country. Passage of this bill is a critical step toward ensuring this economic engine can continue its vital role in our regional and national economy. Deepening the harbor will free up $213 million in private capital each year that can be invested in job creation and business expansion. For every dollar invested in the project, there is a $5.50 return. Let’s get this bill signed into law and this important project underway."
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-3), “Georgia ports are one of the biggest drivers of our state’s economy and account for about one out of every 12 jobs in the state. That’s why it’s so important to support projects like the one to deepen the Savannah port. I am so proud that our state’s delegation worked tirelessly together to make sure that the Water Resources Reform and Development Act included funding to deepen the Savannah port so we can remain an integral part of our country’s shipping industry. I also want to reassure you that WRRDA once again reinforced that the water debate between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida is something that should be decided among the states – without congressional involvement.”
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-8), “This legislation is great news for our state, where Savannah’s port plays a crucial role in our agriculture and manufacturing industries and is a driving force of our local economies. Improving and strengthening our ports and waterways will create jobs and guarantee America remains a competitive player in the global economy.”
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA-9), “This legislation gives Northeast Georgia the freedom to plan for the future of our beautiful lakes as we see fit, and it gets Georgia farm produce out into the markets more efficiently. WRRDA is a win for Georgia, it’s a win for American competitiveness, and it’s a win for the Constitution.”
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11), “Deepening the Port of Savannah is the single-most important economic development project in Georgia and the Southeast. Expanding the nation’s fastest-growing harbor and fourth-busiest port will create jobs, retain and attract businesses, and maintain our competitive advantage. This legislation invests in our state’s most vital infrastructure project while leaving water usage negotiations to the states. Preserving access to our drinking water is of critical importance to Georgia families and businesses and I will continue working to protect it.”
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14), “This project is vital to our state and the country in many ways, but in simple terms, it means we’ll have new jobs and opportunities for a lot of Georgia families. Those supertankers will arrive at the harbor full of goods, and Georgia businesses will make sure they leave full. I applaud the Georgia delegation for working together to secure this victory for our constituents.”
President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers have deemed the Port of Savannah a “nationally and regionally significant infrastructure project.”
Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers show a 5.5-to-1 benefit to cost ratio, meaning that for every dollar spent on the deepening, the nation will reap $5.50 in benefits.
According to the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia’s deep water ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy.
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the bill by a vote of 83-14. The House and Senate must reconcile their differences before sending a final bill to the president to sign into law.
Kingston: We Need to Develop American Energy