U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Louisana, said in his response to President Barack Obama's address that he "read the bill Democrats passed through committee in July" and it "creates 53 new government bureaucracies."
Rep. Boustany is referring to a list also cited by his Republican colleagues. That list comprises "all the new boards, bureaucracies, commissions and programs created" in the health reform bill H.R. 3200. A look at his claim does show that many of the entities would be new.
But it would be misleading to characterize some of them as governmental bodies, which is what many people think of when they define the word bureaucracy. Some of them are modifications to existing programs in the Social Security Act. One of those programs is entitled
"Standardizing Electronic Administrative Transactions," designed to reduce paperwork. A single proposal to widen existing responsibilities of "Nursing Facilities" and "Skilled Nursing Facilities" was counted as two programs.
Boustany's statement could give the impression that all the entities would be long-term. But one, the Reinsurance Program for Retirees, would be a temporary entity under the bill. Another, the Optional Operation of State-Based Health Insurance Exchanges, would only be created if states pursued the program.
In a couple of cases, a commission is formed and then the ombudsman assigned to it is counted separately. Four of the new "bureaucracies" are pilot programs.
Misleading. While there are many new entities, the Republican count exaggerates the number of new bureaucracies.