Americans for Tax Reform supports H.R. 2400, the “Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care” (SIGMA) Act, introduced by Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill). This legislation will help ensure stronger oversight over Obamacare and hold unelected bureaucrats accountable to the American people.
The SIGMA ct creates a special inspector general to oversee and monitor Obamacare. While Obamacare’s many complex regulations and mandates span across numerous government agencies, no one inspector general has jurisdiction over these agencies.
H.R. 2400 would fix this problem by creating an inspector general that could knock on doors across the government, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the Treasury Department, the Social Security Administration, the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the Veterans’ Administration, the Department of Labor, and even the Peace Corps. This would shine a much needed spotlight on the unaccountable actions of the Administration and provide Congress and taxpayers with reports on a regular basis.
The creation of an inspector general office for Obamacare follows in the footsteps of other recent predecessors for Iraq reconstruction, Afghanistan reconstruction, and the TARP bailout. These inspectors general have recovered billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers, and resulted in prosecutions of hundreds of bad actors.
Already, Obamacare has cost taxpayers billions upon billions of wasted dollars. Since 2011, HHS gave almost $5.4 billion in grant money to states for the attempted construction of Obamacare exchange websites. This money was handed out with little oversight and no strings attached.
Unsurprisingly, several states wasted each and every dollar they received.
Oregon shut down its website and moved to the federal exchange earlier this year. Despite being given $305 million in grant money, the website failed to enroll anyone weeks after the November 2013 deadline and was forced to send out paper applications to individuals hoping to enroll. After failing to create a useable website, Oregon moved back to the federally run Healthcare.gov at the cost of $41 million. As a result, the actions of Oregon officials has become the subject of multiple federal investigations that remain ongoing.
In addition, Hawaii recently announced it plans to migrate to the federal exchange after failing to receive a $28 million bailout. The website failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected enrollment figures. In fact, the website enrolled just 8,592 individuals in year one despite spending $205 million constructing its exchange. This means it spent $23,899 per enrollee.
These two states are not anomalies. Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico, and Nevada have all been astonishing failures that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
If an Obamacare inspector general had existed in the past, perhaps taxpayers would have been spared from billions of dollars in waste, and unelected bureaucrats would be held accountable for their inappropriate conduct. ATR urges all members of Congress to support and vote for this important legislation.