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FACT CHECK: Recapturing Subsidy Overpayments? Democrats Were for It Before They Were Against It

February 17, 2011

Today, Ways and Means Democrats decided to dance to the Washington two-step. Only Washington Democrats could call recovering improper, excessive and possibly fraudulent taxpayer-funded subsidies in their health care law, a tax increase.  A look back shows that in 2010, Democrats voted to require full repayment of subsidies for those making more than 400 percent of poverty ($93,800 in 2014) and later supported increasing the amount of excess subsidies that needed to be repaid.  But today, those same Democrats say that this is a tax increase.

You can’t have it both ways. If it was good policy in 2010, when Democrats were in charge, then why is it suddenly being called a tax increase? Here is a look at the facts:

  • Ways and Means Democrats voted twice in support of recapturing overpayments of health care subsidies when they begin in 2014.
  • Democrats accused Republicans of pushing wage earners over the cliff that would require full recapture of overpayments, when in fact it was the Democrats who created that cliff in their trillion dollar health care law.  

The Democrats’ health care law makes it clear (Section 1401) that people making more than 400 percent of poverty are ineligible for the new taxpayer-funded subsidies.  Every Ways and Means Democrat Member voted for that provision.  And, in December, the House voted 409-2 to increase the recapture amount in a manner similiar to what they are complaining about today. Every Ways and Means Democrat Member voted for this as well.

Speaking of the provision which increased the amount of subsidy overpayments that could be recaptured, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius said:  “[The legislation] also changes the way overpayments of the… health insurance premium tax credit are paid back, making it fairer for recipients and all tax payers.”