Thursday, March 10, 2011

$105 Billion for Implementation: A Mandated Fast-Baked Reform Cake-Off

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man,
Bake me a cake as fast you can;
Pat it and prick it, and mark it with a B.

Anonymous, Nursery Rhyme

In the case of the fast-baked health reform law cake, the B stands for Billions of dollars, $105 Billion to be precise, thanks in no small part, to open-ended entitlement spending.

As we approach the first anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act (PPACA), we keep learning the political culinary advantage of fast-baking a 2500 page cake, then waiting until the last minute for a vote to decide whether to eat it.

The chief advantage of a fast-baked health reform cake is that nobody has time to digest the cake's distasteful ingredients or to consider the indigestion that might follow.

The latest regurgitated ingredient is $105 billion the Democratic Congress secretly baked into the cake to automatically fund implementation of the law.

PPACA proponents say this $105 billion should come as no surprise. It was known as long ago as October, 2010, and was published in a report. If the little known report went unread and undigested, that's the inattentive cake-eaters’ problem.

For Republicans, the fundamental dilemma is this: Republican efforts to defund PPACA have been blocked so far because most spending is self-executing. Funding is paid for by provisions in the law.

This defunding puts implementation out of reach of the budgeting process. “The big problem with defunding is we couldn’t get at most of it in the Continuing Resolution,” Rep. Michael Burgess(R-Tex.) said. “All of the stuff that’s in the law as mandatory spending, we couldn’t touch…that’s all baked in the cake right now and we don’t have access to it.”

The $105 billion is just one piece of larger $1 trillion cake. That’s some cake. Perhaps PPACA enthusiasts will be able to have their cake and eat it too, along with American taxpayers.

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