CBO chief disputes GOP claims on healthcare reform appropriations

The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office was at odds with Republican lawmakers early this week over $105 billion in long-term appropriations to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, report The Hill's Healthwatch blog and Fiscal Times.

During testimony in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, CBO Chief Doug Elmendorf insisted that the amount--part of the long-term spending to implement healthcare reform--had not been hidden from lawmakers. Some from the GOP side of the aisle referred to the pre-approved spending--which is earmarked for preventing chronic diseases and funding school health centers--as a slush fund.

"Secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation," said Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.).

However, Democratic lawmakers pointed out that Republicans had previously approved such long-term spending on healthcare, primarily for a Medicare reform bill enacted in 2003.

"Every member of this committee has a history of voting for both mandatory spending and discretionary spending," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

For more:
- read The Hill's Healthwatch article
- read the Fiscal Times article