Issa: Lobbying for health care distracted DHHS from implementing reforms

Mike Riggs Contributor

Wednesday afternoon, I wrote about a letter that Rep. Darrell Issa sent to Kathleen Sebelius office inquiring about the status of unimplemented Inspector General recommendations and whether her department’s energy had been misused lobbying for health care. Wrote Issa:

“A list of unimplemented recommendations recently released by your department’s inspector general have raised troubling questions about your department’s lack of focus on addressing waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds,” Issa wrote.

The list in reference is the annual Compendium of Unimplemented Office of Inspector General Recommendations, released by DHHS Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson. According to Issa’s letter, “The list contains 86 significant outstanding recommendations that if implemented,” could result in “12.2 billion in savings … with over $8.7 billion coming from Medicare and Medicaid ‘Priority Recommendations’ alone.”

While 33 of the recommendations are new, 53 of the recommendations are from Obama’s first year in office.

“The previous year’s Compendium of Unimplemented Office of Inspector General Recommendations (released May 2009), contained 63 such recommendations,” reads Issa’s letter. “Disturbingly, only 10 of these 63 significant IG recommendations from 2008 appear to have been either fully implemented by this administration during its first year in office or deemed no longer relevant by the IG – the other 53 appear again on this year’s report. I would remind you that under the Inspector General Act, federal agencies are supposed to complete final action on IG recommendations within one year.”

Issa’s letter then asks whether “the significant amount of time spent by senior officials” in the DHHS “lobbying for the president’s government health-care proposal raises important questions about whether these activities have distracted efforts to root out waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Whole thing here.