GOP lawmakers seek probe into use of CMS funds
House Republicans are requesting that Congress’ nonpartisan auditor investigate whether CMS funds were used for initiatives unrelated to Medicare and Medicaid and report back shortly before the Nov. 6 general election. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Wally Herger (RCalif.), chairman of the panel’s Health Subcommittee, and Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), chairman of the panel’s Oversight Subcommittee, asked the Government Accountability Office for the investigation because of their concerns that the Obama administration “diverted” CMS funds to implement the federal healthcare overhaul. The Republicans’ query stems from the administration’s move to make the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight—an agency implementing aspects of the healthcare overhaul that Republicans oppose—part of the CMS, according to their letter to Gene Dodaro, the GAO’s comptroller general. “We suspect what precipitated this reorganization was the desire by the Obama administration to tap into the significant financial resources at CMS’ disposal,” they wrote. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in January 2011 that the move of the CCIIO from her office to the CMS was necessitated by the healthcare law’s implementation moving from a planning phase to an operational phase. The audit was requested back by Oct. 15, or about three weeks before the presidential election.
Camp was among those asking for an investigation.