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Bachmann Falsely Claims Billions Were 'Hidden' in Health Care Reform

March 10, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Almost a year after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the misinformation campaign about what’s in it just won’t stop. The most recent example is from Rep. Michelle Bachmann [R, MN-6], who claims that the Democrats snuck more than a hundred billion dollars in the bill and passed it secretly without public review. But Bachmann’s either lying or she has no idea what she’s talking about because her claims are just flat-out false.

Her comments came during an appearence on Meet the Press. Here’s what she said:

There was a Congressional Research Service report that just was issued in February, and we discovered that secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation to fund the implementation of Obamacare.  This is something that wasn’t known. This money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bills.

The CRS report she’s referring to runs down all of the mandated appropriations and fund transfers in the law. This is money that was provided by the bill so the government could begin implementing parts of it right away — stuff like a temporary insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions and setting up the state-based exchanges that will make it easier for consumer to compare different insurance options.

Far from being hidden, all you have to do to see these funds in the bill is run a find-text page search for on the legislative text for terms like “appropriated” or “transferred” and you’ll see it. For example, here’s what the first item listed in the CRS report, appropriations for states to improve insurance consumer information, looks like in the bill:

(1) INITIAL FUNDING. There is hereby appropriated to the Secretary, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $30,000,000 for the first fiscal year for which this section applies to carry out this section. Such amount shall remain available without fiscal year limitation.

(2) AUTHORIZATION FOR SUBSEQUENT YEARS. There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each fiscal year following the fiscal year described in paragraph (1), such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

You can read it in context here.

As you can see, there’s nothing hidden about this. It doesn’t take a lawyer to understand that this language is appropriating funds. Any lay person could tell you what this provision does, let alone any member of Congress whose job is to know how to read this stuff. More than 2 million people managed to use OpenCongress to read the health care bill before it was passed by Congress. Besides the extraordinary length of the bill, there was nothing preventing Bachmann or anyone else from looking at what kind of money was going to be made available by the bill. Every version of the bill was publicly available online for at least 72 hours before votes (which, btw, was one of the first uses of the 72-hour rule that the Republicans have now made an official House rule) and the 85%-similar original bill, H.R.3200, was online for more than 6 months before any votes took place.

People reviewing this legislation have known about these funds all along. For example, when the Congressional Budget Office prepared its report showing that the bill would reduce the deficit by $131 billion over a ten year period, the mandated appropriations and fund transfers were factored in.

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  • mshughes 03/10/2011 4:13pm


    How about, instead of paraphrasing, telling people what you think they should think, and spinning the truth to fit your personal bias, you link us to the actual report that Representative Bachmann references. Then, we can read the report and find the truth for ourselves.

  • Comm_reply
    jonofamerica 03/10/2011 6:19pm

    The actual report is linked to the article. You just need to click on the underlined word “report” to open a new tab containing the actual report.
    It’s the third word in the paragraph that starts with “The CRS report…”

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 03/11/2011 5:57am

    You know, what I actually linked to (and what mshughes provides the url for above) is an earlier version of the report that Bachmann references. The new version Bachmann references can be downloaded here:

    Of course, this just goes to show that these mandated appropriations and transfers have been known and discussed for quite some time. The version linked above is from last October.

  • nancym 03/10/2011 5:08pm

    Well, is anybody ever really surprised at what comes out of Michelle Bachmann’s mouth? Anyone not brain-dead has known for some time that this woman’s bizarro lack of contact with anything based on fact hardly warrants intelligent examination. It’s probably on the same level of personal “shock politics” as that coming from Huckabee lately, for the purpose of selling a book, generating donations, or just plain ego notoriety. My ongoing awe is simply that legitimate news sources continue to give dingbats like this a false public legitimacy by having them on their shows. (Again, more shock politics in the media itself.)

    Note: Even NPR has been guilty of this sort of thing—having guests like the Ku Klux Klan and other fringe groups sitting down for fireside chats, as if they all had equally valid views that need to be heard. So much of this “equal time” is given to those unable to distinguish truth from whatever weird biased opinions are rambling around in their own distorted brains.

  • Comm_reply
    nmeagent 03/10/2011 6:16pm

    There’s not a shred of substantive argument in that whole comment, oh arbiter of public legitimacy.

  • Comm_reply
    mshughes 03/12/2011 5:34pm

    Oh, gee, I don’t know .. I’d say she may be due at least a little credibility based on her prior job as a Federal Tax Prosecutor. She might be slightly qualified to speak about Federal taxation, don’t you think?

  • brianlarsen45 03/11/2011 4:07am

    Is it just me or has opencongress taken a more liberal view.

  • Spam Comment

  • Comm_reply
    mshughes 03/12/2011 5:30pm

    Nope, it’s not just you … it’s feeling lefter & lefter in here.

  • DeborahJBrown 03/11/2011 8:01am

    Almost every vote, almost every decision, almost every bit of information that is disseminated to the public these days contains “misinformation”. Some of this false information is so outrageous and can incite fear in both stable and unstable people and result in very dire consequences (as we saw in AZ). I’m wondering when people, politicians included, are going to be held accountable for the intentional (or ignorant) dissemination of totally false information. I’m wondering how long this ugliness will continue and how far from the truth these politicians can get before the public realizes that we are basing all opinions and our votes on dissemination of false information. (much of it intentionally false)

  • Abaratarrr 03/13/2011 8:38pm

    Yes, Bachmann is an idiot and being that Bachmann is both an idiot and a woman it means that all women are idiots and that no one should ever vote for a woman or believe anything a woman says because all women are idiots just like Bachmann.

    For the next two years expect to see a lot of Bachman on MSNBC, NPR, ABC, Donny Shaw’s blogs and the Huffington Post. They need to get the word out that all women are idiots just like Bachmann so that no one would even consider voting for a women. There can not possibly be a women worth voting for being that Bachmann is a woman and is so stupid.

    Being that this article has nothing to do with voting records or pending legislation it means that is also getting the word out that all women are idiots just like Bachmann.

    What I do not understand is why Bachmann ,the leader of all women, gets no coverage from women friendly organizations and organizations with a bias towards women like the Wall Street Jornal, FOX, Rush Limbaugh etc…

  • HildaSuf 03/20/2011 11:16pm

    “… we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens…” - one of the first things Obama had to take care of with Americas’ stimulus dollars was to give a huge amount of stimulus money to the Health and Human Services Dept. to establish a Council on Effectiveness Research – Effectiveness in Health Care Reform: Lessons from Abroad Feb 4 2009 – very much like Europes’, and with the people in charge of our health “care” we will have a clone of Europe’s healthscare mess. —nejm-org – The New England Journal of Medicine – Saying No Isn’t NICE — The Travails of Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence November 6, 2008

  • HildaSuf 03/20/2011 11:21pm

    “…the mandated appropriations and fund transfers were factored in…” – exactly why the bill/tax/fine should be repealed.
    “…Congressional Budget Office prepared its report showing that the bill would reduce the deficit by $131 billion over a ten year period,…” – all social programs reduce the deficit, and Social Security is not in any sort of funding problem, America is not extremely in debt, so don’t worry, be happy.

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