Obamacare’s $12 Million Ad Tab | Spending Daily

News Roundup | September 6, 2013

Check out our daily news digest for the latest must-read budget and economic stories and commentary:

  1. Jobs Reports Disappoints; Unemployment Rate Down Because Americans Give Up. The Associated Press reports this morning, “U.S. employers added 169,000 jobs in August and much fewer in July than previously thought. … The Labor Department says the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest in nearly five years. But it fell because more Americans stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed. The proportion of Americans working or looking for work fell to its lowest level in 35 years.”
  2. Federal Government Will Spend $12 Million On Obamacare Ads. The White House has launched a full-scale media campaign to promote the 2010 Affordable Care Act and to entice Americans to sign up for the Obamacare health care exchanges, many of which open Oct. 1. That push includes $12 million on television ads. According to Politico, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “has reserved at least $12 million in airtime starting Sept. 30 in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Michigan.”
  3. USPS Not Doing Enough To Prevent Employee Fraud. While the U.S. Postal Service contemplates another increase in mail prices, The Washington Examiner reports the service has failed to properly police its employees’ use of agency-issued credit cards. According to the newspaper, “USPS officials responsible for preventing such misuse are missing thousands of dollars employees get with the cards for their personal use. Although the travel card coordinators in the Southern Area of the Postal Service — which spans the entire Gulf Coast and other states in the south — often did their job, the IG found 211 instances that totaled more than $53,000 of inappropriate cash withdrawals between April 2012 and March of this year.”
  4. New Instances Of Questionable Government Spending. The Washington Free Beacon reveals two instances of potential government waste. According to the news site, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has spent $236 million on contract with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. USAID, however, “has exercised little oversight over the taxpayer dollars despite warnings there is a ‘high risk’ that the Afghan agency is engaging in ‘waste, fraud, and abuse.’” The Beacon also notes the National Institutes of Health “has spent $2.2 million studying why three quarters of lesbians are obese …” Taxpayers should be offended not only by the gross generalization, but should also wonder whether this study is vital in the face of a $17 trillion debt. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture made at least $20 million in overpayments last year, most of that spending coming through the program that gives crop subsidies to farmers.

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