Examiner Editorial: Obamacare just tip of bigger bureaucracy 

Supporters of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law were cheered recently when a Congressional Research Service report seemed to contradict a Republican criticism that was gaining traction with the public.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation said last week that Obamacare would require the creation of at least 159 new bureaucratic organizations.

To illustrate the sprawling nature of the coming new government health care bureaucracy, Gingrich’s group put together a wall map loaded with tiny, color-coded type organized by year. It’s an intimidating chart that recalls a similar creation used effectively by congressional Republicans in leading the public rejection of Hillarycare in 1993.

Similarly, the Republican members of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress created another massive chart
indicating both old and new bureaucratic entities involved with Obamacare.

But, along came Politico’s Fred Barbash, who pointed to a July 8 report by the Congressional Research Service’s Curtiss W. Copeland on “New entities created pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Crawford had cautioned that “the precise number of new entities that will ultimately be created pursuant to [the act] is currently unknowable, for the number of entities created by some sections is contingent upon other factors, and some new entities may satisfy more than one requirement in the legislation.”

Just in case anybody missed Crawford’s point, Barbash said, “Implicit in the report is a message not to take too seriously the elaborate charts and seemingly precise numbers peddled by Republican critics that are designed to show the law’s many bureaucratic tentacles.”

Folks who actually read the Crawford report and scanned those two scary GOP charts are quite likely to reach the contrary conclusion. In fact, one might even think the Republican critics were being too easy on Obamacare.

Consider, for example, Crawford’s point that his report “describes dozens of new governmental organizations or advisory bodies that are mentioned in [the health care act], but does not include other types of entities that were created by the legislation [e.g., various demonstration projects, grants, trust funds, programs, systems, formulas, guidelines, risk pools, websites, ratings areas, model agreements, or protocols].”

Put another way, Crawford looked at only part of the picture. The rest of the picture — those demonstration projects, grants, trust funds, programs, systems, formulas, guidelines, risk pools, et al. — will result in at least as much, if not much more, bureaucratic expansion.

So, while the precise number of new government bureaus and bureaucrats created by Obamacare can’t be known now, what’s known beyond any shadow of a doubt is that there will be more, much more, government.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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