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Camp on HHS Budget: Enough with the Gimmicks

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House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp today told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Obama administration’s 2012 budget proposal “is a mess.”

Federal fiscal year 2012 will start Oct. 1.

Sebelius was the only witness at the Ways and Means HHS budget hearing, and Sebeliusshe noted that the proposed HHS discretionary budget is slightly below the 2010 level.

“When we found waste, we cut it,” Sebelius testified. “When we found duplication, we eliminated it.”

Camp, R-Mich., acknowledged that Sebelius and other Obama administration officials have shown willingness to try to fix apparent problems with the Affordable Care Act – the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Sebelius, for example, has conceded that the unmodified version of the voluntary worksite long term care program created by the Affordable Care Act appears to be unsustainable, Camp said.

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But both the act and the budget proposal are “a mess,” Camp said.

“As I look through this budget, I see budget gimmick after budget gimmick, temporary patches paid for with permanent tax increases,” Camp said.

The Obama administration is also proposing to eliminate Medicare provider payment cuts without saying how and proposing in 2014 to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies “that can’t be accounted for,” Camp said.

The administration also has failed to propose strategies for reforming Medicare, Camp said.

Republicans suggested last week suggested that a PPACA “defunding” measure could soon come to the floor of the House.