Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The bill that no one read is still impenetrable

Remember how Nancy Pelosi told us we'd have to pass ObamaCare in order to know what was in it. We're still trying to figure it out.

Here is the chart that the Republicans have been putting out to illustrate all the bureaucratic entities created or involved in ObamaCare.The Congressional Research Service is also on the case trying to figure this monstrosity out. But there's a problem because there are just too many agencies and too much vague language for them to figure it out.
Don’t bother trying to count up the number of agencies, boards and commissions created under the new health care law. Estimating the number is “impossible,” a recent Congressional Research Service report says, and a true count “unknowable.”

The reasons for the uncertainty are many, according to CRS’s Curtis W. Copeland, the author of the report “New Entities Created Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The provisions of the law that create the new entities vary dramatically in specificity.

The law says a lot about some of them and a little about many, and merely mentions a few. Some have been authorized without any instructions on who is to appoint whom, when that might happen and who will pay.

Those agencies created without specific appointment or appropriations procedures will have to wait indefinitely for staff and funding before they can function, according to Copeland’s report.

And others could be just the opposite: One entity might not be enough and could spawn others, resulting in an “indeterminate number of new organizations.”
Thus is the tyranny of government born. The elected officials don't know what they voted for. That isn't just because they didn't read the bill, but because the bill doesn't even say. It's all just up in the air. It's all left up to people in the Department of Health and Human Services to figure out what they want to do.
The CRS report cites as an example a minority health provision that “requires the heads of six separate agencies within Health and Human Services to each establish their own offices of minority health.”

Another section, by contrast, says that the Patient-Centered Research Institute “‘may appoint permanent or ad hoc expert advisory panels as determined appropriate.’ How many such panels will be ‘determined appropriate’ by the institute is currently unclear.”
The CRC seems to be saying that we shouldn't pay attention to such a chart as the Republicans have put out - not because it's inaccurate, but because no one yet knows what is in the bill.
The Center for Health Transformation, founded by Newt Gingrich, recently estimated that the new law created as many as 159 new offices, agencies and programs. Republican staffers on the Joint Economic Committee determined that there were 47 bureaucratic entities.

“Although some observers have asserted that PPACA will result in a precise number of new boards and commissions,” the CRS document reads, “the exact number of new organizations and advisory bodies that will ultimately be created ... is currently unknowable.”
Now there's a defense for Democrats. "Your chart is all wrong because we still don't know what we voted for. That's a message to carry into the elections asking for votes. Don't you want to send back to the Hill people who still don't know what they voted for in the biggest transformation of American health care? All a Republican has to do is to tout some unpopular part of the bill - say the part saying that any small business has to file 1099 forms for any purchase over $600 - and then look into the camera and say: Did you know what you were voting for, and if not, why not? Or run an ad quoting the CRC saying that they still don't know how many bureaucratic agencies were created in the bill and then look in the camera and ask "Why is my opponent voting for bills that the Congressional Research Service still can't figure out what it says? Is that the type of judgment you're looking for in your elected officials?"