House Republicans: HHS Has Become “Too Big to Control”

By:  Brian Koenig
House Republicans: HHS Has Become “Too Big to Control”

The HHS has adopted a “too-big-to-control” model that is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars, House Republicans said Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has adopted a “too-big-to-control” model that is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars, House Republicans indicated Wednesday during a hearing on the agency’s lavish spending habits. Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee railed against the HHS' exorbitant spending, specifically on issues such as international travel, its skyrocketing payroll costs, and the agency’s refusal to terminate wasteful and ineffective programs.

“It does appear that HHS is now too big to control,” charged Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn., pictured above left). “It is very evident to us that you are too big to manage. You are too unwieldy. … You are spending money in ways that you ought not to be spending it.”

Norris Cochran, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Budget for the HHS, countered Blackburn and her colleagues, saying the agency’s staff has grown significantly in recent years to help support the Indian Health Service and the Food and Drug Administration. However, Cochran neglected to mention the HHS’ new agency, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), which was established to govern President Obama’s contentious healthcare reform law.

The CCIIO has demanded a slew of resources to carry out its mission, which is to provide “national leadership in setting and enforcing standards for health insurance that promote fair and reasonable practices to ensure that affordable, quality health coverage is available to all Americans.” In effect, the HHS’ new arm was founded as an oversight group to regulate insurance providers and enforce strict new rules on the health insurance market.

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Photo: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) second from right, spoke during a health care news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, back on Oct. 7, 2009: AP Images


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