Far-Reaching Medicare Part B Changes Violate Separation Of Powers — And With CBO’s Blessing

Members of Congress expressed outrage at the Congressional Budget Office during a recent House hearing for assuming that sweeping, untested changes to Medicare will save $34 billion “even before you know what the project is,” Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said.

The Affordable Care Act handed significant new powers to bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services by creating an entity called the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CMMI grabbed these new powers and ran with them.

Congress is outraged because the CBO says that for Congress to stop or reduce the scale of CMMI’s Medicare Part B payment demonstration, it must offset the savings. CBO says Congress would have to find $34 billion in new taxes or cut spending, most likely from entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, to close it down.

Congress should not have to raise taxes or cut spending on other government programs to offset fictional savings conjured up by the CBO based upon hope rather than experience. If it does, it basically is ceding to the administration spending authority granted by the Constitution exclusively to the legislative branch. Members are rightly outraged.

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