The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

The WasteWatcher

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Two Significant Healthcare Bills Introduced to Replace Obamacare

On Wednesday, two important healthcare bills were introduced in the Senate to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.  One bill, introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), would amend the healthcare reform legislation that passed the House in May, the American Health Care Act.  That bill was sent to the Senate and has languished in that chamber since the end of July, in spite of several attempts to address senators' concerns by amending it.

No, Obamacare's Problems Are Not Over

Last Wednesday, August 23, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that only one county, Paulding County, Ohio, would have no health insurers participating in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.  Admittingly, this was a very different scenario from what was anticipated just a few months ago.  In June, the New York Times

The Can-Kicking Congress: Business as Usual

In political patois, “kicking the can down the road” connotes procrastination.  As long as the proverbial can is kicked “down the road,” rather than picked up, then the proper disposition of the derelict container is put off until some future point in time.  And much like the (equally proverbial) kicker’s aversion to taking definitive action on a relatively straightforward task, the U.S. Congress is composed of 535 “can kickers,” given their predilection to avoid taking action until the last possible minute.  On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, when the current Congress reconvenes after its annual August recess, it will have less than a month to complete several “must pass” items.

The Summer of Healthcare Discontent

As the end of their summer recess approaches, the Republican-controlled Congress has still not done what it has promised to do since March 2010:  repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, and allow consumer-driven forces to create more competition and choices in order to drive down healthcare costs.  It has been said that Republicans behaved like a dog which had constantly chased after a car and then finally caught it:  They were ill-prepared about what to do after Obamacare was snagged in their metaphorical jaws.

Getting Back to Basics at the EPA

Over the last decade, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been the poster child for government waste, employee misconduct, and job-killing policies.  This pitiful legacy offers new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt a golden opportunity to turn around the troubled agency.

Building the Digital Bridge

In 2014, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz and I co-authored a book, Telecom Unplugged: Ushering in a New Digital Era.  Some of the material in the book became out of date with the advent of the Open Internet Order on February 26, 2015, and passage of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act on February 24, 2016.

Confirmation Congestion: 124 Down, More Than 1,000 to Go

President Donald Trump has the authority to fill more than 4,000 executive positions, of which 1,212 require Senate confirmation.  According to a joint study by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, as of August 22, 2017, the Senate has confirmed 124 Trump nominees, with 277 nominations pending.  By comparison, President George W. Bush had 294 confirmations, with 414 pending nominations by August 22, 2001; while President Obama reached 310 confirmations and 433 pending nominations by August 22, 2009.  The confirmation of less than half the number of Bush and Obama nominees has hindered the advancement of President Trump’s agenda.

Security Weaknesses in Pentagon Excess Property Program

The Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) handles the management of logistical support for the military.  It also runs the 1033 program, which transfers excess Department of Defense (DOD) property to federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) across the United States and its territories.  Since its inception, this program has transferred more than $6 billion worth of DOD property to participating LEAs.

ECPA Modernization Act of 2017 Introduced

The following statement is attributable to Thomas A. Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste on the introduction of the ECPA Modernization Act of 2017 on July 27, 2017:

Congress Reacts to Largest Federal Healthcare Fraud Enforcement Action

On Thursday, July 13, 2017, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced in a press release the largest healthcare fraud enforcement action in its history.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced the takedown, in which over 412 individuals were found responsible for $1.3 billion in fraud losses. 

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