The formal budget process never even got started this year, which means now Congress is scrambling to pass legislation to keep funding going to prevent a government shut down.

There’s a reason that a budget process (even the current flawed one) is in place: Congress sets priorities when deciding what to fund, and debates about the budget give the public a chance to express their support (of lack thereof) for particular provisions and government activities.

Needless to say, if a budget bill came up that was expressly funding provisions in the new health care bill (funding the bureaucrats and different commissions who will decide what health care coverage Americans must have or enforcing the individual mandate, for example), the public would be pretty interested in that debate. That may be why Congress right now is trying to sneak in provisions to fund aspects of Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution. As Senator Tom Coburn describes:

Using the end-of-the-year spending bill as a Trojan horse to fund the new federal health care law is hardly the mandate from the November elections. Yet, that is what Congress is doing through the must-pass spending bill to fund government operations. We need to repeal, not ratify, the new health law and replace it with health reforms that will truly lower costs and improve health care quality and access.

The bill also provides a fat $3.6 billion check for Dr. Donald Berwick, the new head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to be used for non-descript ‘program management.’ The fact that Dr. Berwick continues to evade questions from members of the press and public raises serious questions about his intended purpose for these funds.

…The legislation also spends $12 million on an unelected panel of bureaucrats who will issue costly mandates, make coverage decisions for all Americans, and could deny patient choice under the guise of ‘prevention.’

IWF objects to the specifics of the health care law, and believes strongly that it should be repealed and replaced with better policy that would create a more competitive health care sector, rather than just a bigger government.

But regardless of the merits of the law, everyone should agree that these debates should take place in public. The American people deserve to know how their money is being put to use and to have the chance to weigh in to the elected Representatives. It’s not just the law, but this whole process, which is a travesty.