Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Turning Off The Runway Lights At HHS

If the wide variety of health care reform proposals swirling around Washington ever coalesce into legislation that is signed into law, HHS will have dozens of new responsibilities. But sponsoring fashion shows would no longer be one of them, if Sen. Coburn has his way.

The fiscally conservative Republican from Oklahoma is sponsoring a health reform amendment to prevent HHS from using funds to sponsor fashion shows; the amendment will be considered during markup of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions health care reform bill, known as the “Affordable Health Choices Act,” which begins June 17.

Coburn has long had a beef with HHS spending money on the lights and glamour of the runway, as expressed a number of times on his web site, including in a statement protesting HHS sending dozens of employees to a conference at a beach resort where the entertainment included a “sizzling fashion show.” He also has questioned why money is being spent on social events, including fashion shows, to raise awareness of the search for an HIV vaccine when that money could be used to actually conduct research on a vaccine.

As Coburn put it in a 2008 press release: “Who knows what scientific discoveries could be unlocked at a bar or fashion show! But with your tax dollars, we will find out!”

image from flickr user maddsmadds used under a creative commons license

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