ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Harkin puts hold on CMS administrator nominee over using preventive health care budget as Sibelius slush fund
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has put a hold on the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), vowing to block her appointment because of the Obama administration's planned use of specific funds related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ...
"The prevention fund works. Thanks to this funding, more children are being immunized, more people are quitting smoking, more communities are fighting chronic disease, more people are being screened for hepatitis C," Harkin told Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a budget hearing Wednesday morning. "Robbing prevention when we know these efforts can improve people's health and lower healthcare costs goes against the very mission of health care reform."
HHS has scrambled to come up with money to build and operate health insurance exchanges for President Obama's signature health law. The federal government must run the exchanges for more than half the states because they have opted against doing it themselves.
Meanwhile, Congress provided HHS with little money to do so, leaving the department with few options to fund its exchange operations. One was to take the money from the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Act, a project Harkin fought to have included in the law.
Wednesday's announcement of the hold from Harkin came as a surprise, since Tavenner appeared to be on a fast track to become the first confirmed administrator to run CMS since Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, left the agency in 2006 [wowsers, dysfunction]. The Obama nominee, who is currently serving as CMS' acting administrator, has received the backing of many notable Republicans and Affordable Care Act opponents.
Well, I don't know what to make of that.
Too bad the Democrats don't have the stones to stick a fork in this turkey, man up, abolish the filibuster, and pass single payer Medicare for All. Or, heck, find another slush fund that doesn't gore a liberal Democrat's ox. Or take health care away from people.