Senators Question Education Department's Role in ObamaCare

By on July 16, 2013 in Current Events with 2 Comments

A group of Senators are questioning the role of the Department of Education in the implementation of ObamaCare.

John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee took the lead in writing a letter to Arne Duncan, Secretary of the Department of Education seeking answers to questions such as how much the Education Department is spending on the implementation of ObamaCare and how the actions the Education Department is taking are different from those of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The full text of the letter follows below.

July 16, 2013

The Honorable Arne Duncan
Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, Southwest
Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear Secretary Duncan:

We write to express concern with a recent announcement you made regarding the relationship between the U.S. Department of Education and the implementation of the President’s health care law. During a recent interview with Lois Romano of POLITICO, you stated that the Department of Education will be assisting with the dissemination of information. Additionally, you indicated that there is a team at the Department of Education currently helping with implementation.

While we understand that the effects of the President’s health care law will be felt by parents, teachers, and their families, we are unfamiliar with how the Department of Education’s involvement in implementation will further the mission of educating our nation’s students. To better understand the statutory authority, cost, and scope of the activities the Department of Education has taken, please provide a detailed response to the following questions:

  • How much is the Department of Education spending this fiscal year to further the implementation of the President’s health care law, and how much does the Department of Education anticipate spending in each fiscal year from 2014 to 2017? What specific appropriation accounts and programs are being used?
  • If the Department of Education is receiving these funds through the Department of Health and Human Services, what instructions were included with this funding and how many Department of Education employees will be dedicated to this effort?
  • How are the actions by the Department of Education different from those taken by the Department of Health and Human Services? Have you coordinated with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure your efforts are not duplicative?
  • What authority does the Department of Education have to disseminate information and assist with the implementation of the President’s health care law?
  • How do the Department of Education’s activities further the education of our nation’s students?
  • What specific actions are you asking schools to take without additional federal resources? How does that not constitute an unfunded mandate?

In addition to these questions, we request that you please provide a detailed plan of your current and future involvement with the implementation of the President’s health care law by July 30, 2013.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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