Published November 02, 2009
In its latest attempt to portray the Democrats' reform package as an unwieldy expansion of federal government in the health care sector, the House Republican Conference circulated what it called a list of "new boards, bureaucracies, commissions and programs" created in the House health care bill.
Among some off the new agencies, the list cites a Health Insurance Exchange; the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation; the Public Health Investment Fund; the Public Health Workforce Corps; an Assistant Secretary for Health Information; the Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health; grant programs for alternative medical liability laws, infant mortality programs and other issues; and about 100 other government-sponsored creations.
"That ought to tell you all that we need to know, that we're going to have 1,990 pages of legislation," House Minority Leader John Boehner said in an interview Sunday. "The word 'shall' exists in this bill 3,345 times."
The list underscores the GOP complaint that the health care reform bill over-burdens taxpayers and the government itself. Republicans said Monday they plan to read aloud the massive bill -- in the space of four hours -- on the House floor Tuesday.
A Democratic source dismissed the list of "bureaucracies" as an exaggeration, calling them "demonstration projects" instead.
"The programs and demonstration projects they list aren't new agencies but rather new projects," the source told Fox News. "And they're sensible ways to test new policies before more broadly implementing them. ... Many of the programs and demonstration projects are things that Republicans themselves have called for and supported."
Republicans, for instance, have called for medical malpractice reform, which is referenced in the list of new government agencies. The Democratic source said offices like "ombudsman" and "inspector general" are just individual offices in "existing agencies" and not new bureaucracies.
House Democrats unveiled their unified bill last week, which was estimated to cost $1.055 trillion over 10 years. House lawmakers are expected to begin debate this week, but Republicans -- vastly outnumbered in the House -- continue to push back hard.
Boehner said Sunday that Republicans are preparing an alternative health care reform plan. However, pressed by FoxNews.com on Monday, Boehner's office and the House Republican Conference committee provided few details of that plan.
"Rather than a trillion dollar government takeover, it's going to be a step-by-step reform of the current system," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, adding only that there will be no so-called public option in the GOP plan.