Several months ago, President Obama’s Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, initiated the Senior Swindle, an $8.35 billion ploy (far more than either presidential campaign will raise this year) to hide the effects of Obamacare’s Medicare Advantage cuts from seniors until after the election. The Government Accountability Office has said it’s “concerned” about the legality of this taxpayer-funded gambit, which may cause voters to recall other aspects of Obamacare’s checkered past — like the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and Gator Aid. Now House Republicans have announced their intention to subpoena a heretofore uncooperative Sebelius, in an effort to obtain more information about this unprecedented election-year outlay.
Fox News reports:
“Republican Rep. Darrell Issa on Friday formally notified Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he intends to issue a subpoena for health department documents on a program he claims is being used to ‘buy’ the election by hiding the effects of ObamaCare.
“The Department of Health and Human Services handed over reams of material just minutes before a 5 p.m. ET deadline Thursday in response to Issa’s demand 24 hours earlier. However, Issa’s office called the cache ‘embarrassing,’ insufficient and not responsive to the congressman’s request.
“‘Basically somebody hit a button and said print out a bunch of spreadsheets in an illegible format,’ Issa told Fox News. ‘So we will be issuing the subpoena.’”
Fox News writes, “The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee effectively is accusing the department of stringing them along for months in their request for documents about an $8 billion program that pays bonuses to Medicare Advantage plans” on a temporary basis.
Fox News adds:
“Issa claims the bonus program is being used to mask the first round of Medicare Advantage cuts in connection with the health care overhaul — in order to win favor with seniors.
“‘It’s an unbelievable abuse of power,’ he said Thursday.”...
As Benjamin E. Sasse, HHS’s assistant secretary for planning and evaluation until early 2009 and now the president of Midland University, put it this spring, “In scope and intention, this is something completely new, and if it’s allowed to establish precedent, the only limit on what future administrations could spend money on, or how much they could unilaterally spend, would be their own electoral calculations about what they could get away with.”