The Hill | ObamaCare Payments Break The Law

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Republicans: ObamaCare payments break the law

by Peter Sullivan | March 11, 2016

Republicans are putting heightened scrutiny on ObamaCare payments that they argue break the law.

They say the administration is violating the Affordable Care Act by prioritizing payments to insurers over payments to the U.S. Treasury, and have grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell about the matter at recent hearings.

“The announcement that the administration made represents an illegal wealth transfer from hard-working taxpayers to [insurers], and this law is very clear,” Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said at a hearing with Burwell last month.
This week, Republicans followed up with letters to the administration seeking documents on the administration’s decision-making process.

At issue is ObamaCare’s reinsurance program, which is designed to protect insurers against high costs for sicker enrollees in the early years of the law. Under the program, the government collects money from insurers and then gives it to plans with high-cost enrollees.

The reinsurance program was designed to collect $10 billion in its first year of existence, 2014, while collecting another $2 billion that would be deposited into the U.S. Treasury.

But not enough money was brought in to cover those amounts, so the administration, through regulations in 2014, prioritized giving money to insurers. None of the money was given to Treasury for the first year.

Republicans say that action clearly violates the healthcare law, which states that $2 billion “shall be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury of the United States and may not be used for the program established under this section [i.e. the payments to insurers].” (Read More)


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