Why does Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius want the current health care bill to pass? It probably has a lot to do with her personal policy preferences and her loyalty to the Democratic platform and the Obama administration. It probably also has a lot to do with the unprecedented powers the HHS Secretary would assume under the plan.
With Reid’s health care bill, the Department of Health and Human Services would get to decide what medical care should be offered by insurers, the terms and conditions of the coverage, who is able to receive it, what the basic cost should be for coverage, and to decide where abortion is allowed to be covered.
The bill allows an end run around Congress when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid as well, empowering the department to make “cost-saving cuts.” The biggest power grab, though, according to Edmund Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation, is the shift of authority for regulating insurance from the states to the federal government.
Keep in mind that all of this bureaucracy will be overseen by a member of the executive branch, making it tougher for Congress to get involved in policy changes. Indeed, the person in charge of the nation’s health care will be an unelected political appointee that doesn’t have to answer to voters or lawmakers.
I’m uncomfortable with investing that much authority in someone politically insulated from their missteps and overreaches, regardless of the party to which they belong or the ideology to which they ascribe. It’s just another reason the current bill winding its way through Congress would be an absolute disaster and why we’re nowhere close to a rational solution to health care reform.