Appropriations Republicans Want Answers on Health Care Act Implementation Costs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter sent today, House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis and Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Republican Jo Ann Emerson asked Treasury Secretary Geithner to outline his Department’s plans to implement portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the total cost of these actions to the American taxpayer. Lewis and Emerson expressed concern over various provisions in the legislation, including onerous individual insurance mandates and overly burdensome tax provisions, and asked the Secretary to report on the status of these items and cost of staff and bureaucracy needed to implement them. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the total cost of the implementation of the Act to be a whopping five to ten billion dollars.
“We would like to know what steps, if any, your Department is taking to implement the individual mandate and 1099 provisions, including the amount of fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution funding and the number of staff you plan to devote to these activities,” Lewis and Emerson wrote, “Additionally, as you work on building the Administration’s fiscal year 2011 spending plans and the fiscal year 2012 budget request, we ask that you keep us fully informed of the planned future use of Appropriations to support either of these provisions within the Health Care Act.”
The full text of the letter follows:
September 24, 2010
Timothy F. Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Geithner,
We understand that, in order to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Treasury Department will need to hire thousands of additional staff. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the resulting costs to American taxpayers will range between $5 billion to $10 billion over the next ten years. We are writing to request that you provide us, in a timely manner, a full accounting of the planned use of Federal funds to implement each of the controversial provisions described below.
We strongly oppose the individual mandate provisions and believe that legally requiring Americans to purchase health care insurance is inherently unconstitutional. Forcing our citizens to buy health insurance violates the basic principles of freedom and individual choice. The CBO estimates that 3.9 million Americans are likely to be subjected to penalties for not carrying government-approved health insurance by 2016. We simply cannot support the Internal Revenue Service imposing stiff penalties on Americans for their failure to purchase health insurance they do not want or cannot afford.
Moreover, we also do not support the implementation of the provision within the Health Care Act that requires business owners to submit a separate 1099 reporting form for business-to-business transactions that exceed a value of $600. The impact of this provision will be staggering since it will require businesses to provide 1099s for the most basic business expenses, such as shipping costs, office supplies and phone service. At a time when our small businesses are already facing enormous pressures, this provision adds to the weight bearing down on them by making their transactions far too complex. Additionally, this requirement will destroy the incentive of larger companies to do transactions with small businesses because the administrative costs, in terms of time and money, will be too high. It will simply be easier to rely on a single larger supplier or service contractor than to do business with multiple small businesses.
Small businesses are the economic engine of our nation and will be the source of the new jobs that our Nation so desperately needs. As we continue to limp along during the worst economic decline since the Great Depression, the worst thing that we can possibly do is to impose new burdens on our small businesses.
We would like to know what steps, if any, your Department is taking to implement the individual mandate and 1099 provisions, including the amount of fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution funding and the number of staff you plan to devote to these activities. We respectfully ask that you provide us with a prompt response to this reasonable request, as the end of the fiscal year is rapidly approaching. Additionally, as you work on building the Administration’s fiscal year 2011 spending plans and the fiscal year 2012 budget request, we ask that you keep us fully informed of the planned future use of Appropriations to support either of these provisions within the Health Care Act.
Committee on Appropriations
Jo Ann Emerson
Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government