The traffic on the Capitol Beltway is nothing compared to the jam outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Reporters have been camped out for days, taking turns broadcasting from what will be the scene of Thursday’s blockbuster ruling on health care. Along the sidewalk, cameras are trained on the 77-year-old building, while crews sit perched in nearby lawn chairs. Everyone is staking their claim to a small piece of concrete, where they—along with the rest of America—will wait out the next 48 hours. If the outside looks like a legal version of Occupy, the inside is a hive of activity. Most former clerks say the major proofreading stage is probably underway, where editors will clock long hours to perfect the text of what could be multiple ObamaCare opinions.
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Seven blocks away from the Court, the headquarters of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also buzzing. According to reports, employees there are scrambling to push health care dollars out the door before Thursday’s decision comes down. “Conservatives wanted the White House to stop spending on the health care law until the Supreme Court rules on whether it’s constitutional. But the administration has forged ahead,” Politico points out, “spending at least $2.7 billion since oral arguments in the case that ended on March 28. That’s more than double the amount that was handed out in the three-month period leading up to the arguments.”
In the event that the law is struck down and funding dries up, HHS officials seem anxious to shovel out as much cash as possible. The Wall Street Journal calculates that HHS has doled out almost $5 billion for early retiree coverage, $3.7 billion for prescriptions, another 10 percent in bonuses to doctors who treat Medicare patients, and “billions of dollars more in grants, contracts, and loans to health providers.” Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Department’s last-minute spending spree have been the president’s pals. Last month, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sank $728 million into Planned Parenthood-eligible “community health centers”—a project that she topped off with another $128 million last week. No one seems to know how—or even if—the money could be recouped if the law is voided.
In the meantime, HHS’s cash dump is helping to expose ObamaCare for what it is: a money grab for the administration’s friends and political allies. Remember the Cornhusker Kickback? That was nothing compared to the Planned Parenthood Payouts and the Labor Union Shuffles. Let’s hope the justices do us all a favor and send the law to the trash heap where it belongs. Otherwise, the hole these dollars are burning in Secretary Sebelius’s pocket may be nothing compared to the hole they burn in the debt if the policy stays.
This article originally appeared on the website of the Family Research Center and is reprinted with permission.