The Affordable Care Act certainly isn’t doing much to make health care more affordable, or more available, but one thing it does excel at is making government larger. It might be more accurately known as the Full Bureaucrat Employment Act.
After chipping through the usual Obama Administration stonewalls with a Freedom of Information Act request, the UK Daily Mail obtained a spreadsheet from the Department of Health and Human Services, and discovered the Administration has been quietly building a squad of ObamaCare “detectives,” part of a vast and well-paid bureaucratic army:
On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, HHS received authority from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to make as many as 1,814 new hires under an emergency ‘Direct Hiring Authority’ order.
The Obama administration ordered that employment expansion despite a government-wide hiring freeze.
A total of 1,684 of those positions were filled. An analysis by MailOnline shows that at 2010 federal government salary rates, the new employees’ salaries alone cost the U.S. at least $138.8 million every year.
Had the agency filled all its available jobs, that cost would have been a minimum of $159 million.
The hiring began in May 2010 and continued through June 2013, making the later hires eligible for higher salaries as a result of annual cost-of-living increases.
[…] The lowest salary on the list was for a single contracting officer at Grade 7, Step 1, an annual rate of about $42,350, including a so-called ‘differential’ payments. Those increases are given to all federal employees in order to adjust for regional cost-of-living differences.
The highest salary in 2010 dollars, including that differential payment, was about $161,450, earned by a total of 29 new employee. They include health insurance administrators, contracting officers and information technology managers.
Well, at least they didn’t fill all the positions, many of which called for six-figure salaries. That’s good, right? Not quite. The positions that didn’t get filled were mostly “consumer safety officers.” But HHS did load up on enforcement officers – a battalion of “86 new criminal investigators” who earn between $51k and $89k per year. Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, dubbed them the “ObamaCare police.”
Dan Holler of the Heritage Foundation found this growing squad of enforcers especially disturbing in light of the Administration’s willingness to ignore or change the Affordable Care Act by fiat: “The Obama Administration continues to assert near unilateral power when it comes to ObamaCare. This blatant disregard for the rule of law raises serious questions as to how these new criminal investigators will behave, what guidelines they will follow, and who will provide much-needed oversight.”
Oh, I’m sure they’ll have the same kind of eagle-eyed, honor bound oversight as the NSA, whose officials lie just about every time they make a public statement. Think of all the great tell-all books that retired ObamaCare police will be writing in twenty or thirty years, assuming such books are still permitted. And don’t forget, the IRS is heavily involved in ObamaCare enforcement, too. They’re all about oversight and transparency. Just ask anyone from a pro-life or Tea Party group.
The Affordable Care Act is not properly described as a “law,” because it exists outside the rule of law; we have learned that it cannot survive anywhere else. The administrators of ObamaCare feel themselves bound by no statute, obliged to fulfill no commitment. But you will be. Strict compliance with a complex web of laws will be required. Of course, the designers of ObamaCare didn’t tell you that, back in 2010… but if their creation can survive another couple of election cycles, they’ll begin explaining it to you, quite sternly, because your opinion of the system will no longer matter at all.