Politico has a great article grappling with the question, What happens to all the agencies and personnel funded by ObamaCare if the Supreme Court rules the health care reform bill unconstitutional?
Unless the Court spells out in great detail how to unwind a bureaucratic behemoth that has already created 500 new positions in 2 new agencies – with another 3,000 new jobs in the Office of the Health and Human Services Secretary alone – it seems the answer is, no one knows.
Realistically, the issue will boil down to which party has control of the public’s purse:
“The issue you’re looking at here is cash flow,” said Jim Dyer, a former Republican staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, who is now a principal at the Podesta Group.
The federal spending pipeline is complex and secretaries have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. Even if the courts strike down the health reform law, Dyer said, the onus will still be on Congress to fully shut off the tap.
“If I’m an appropriator, … I would want to draw a hard line in the sand,” he said. The committee could immediately demand HHS stop its spending if the court strikes down the law so that it can exert tight control over how it winds the program down. Exactly how that would shake out if a Republican-controlled House committee wanted HHS to stop the spending but a Democratic-controlled Senate did not would be part of the uncertain political terrain.”
Here’s one more reason to ensure that next year’s budget process is dominated by fiscal conservatives.