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Chairmen Camp, Royce Introduce Legislation to Bar Foreign Diplomats and UN Employees from U.S. Taxpayer-Funded Healthcare Subsidies

December 10, 2014

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced H.R. 5825, the No Healthcare Subsidies for Foreign Diplomats Act, legislation to prevent foreign diplomats from receiving subsidized health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), foreign diplomats and United Nations employees in the United States are currently eligible to obtain American taxpayer-funded subsidies under the ACA, such as premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, just like American citizens and lawful permanent residents.  By contrast, U.S. diplomats overseas do not depend on foreign taxpayers for health care coverage, relying instead on domestic health insurance plans that provide overseas coverage.

Chairman Camp said: “It is absolutely unacceptable – and unfair – that foreign diplomats can have their health costs subsidized by the American taxpayer, all thanks to the President’s health law.  Time and again, the Affordable Care Act has proven to be anything but affordable for taxpayers.  It is not the responsibility of honest, hardworking Americans to provide health coverage for foreign diplomats, but rather a duty of those nations sending them here.  This straightforward legislation will put a stop to this unjust practice, and I am proud to introduce it with my friend Chairman Royce.”

Chairman Royce said: “After many months of inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Obama Administration finally came clean about the fact that foreign diplomats are eligible for taxpayer-funded Obamacare subsidies.  This is shockingly unacceptable.  Americans’ tax dollars should not be used to subsidize foreign diplomats’ health coverage.  These foreign governments should cover the healthcare costs of the diplomats they send here.  This important, commonsense legislation makes this clear, and I am pleased to be working with Chairman Camp to move it forward.”

H.R. 5825:

  • Expresses the sense of Congress that foreign diplomats should be allowed to purchase health insurance coverage in the U.S., but the cost of that coverage should be borne by their sending States;

  • Expresses the sense of Congress that U.S. taxpayers should not subsidize the health insurance expenses of foreign diplomats; 

  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to make foreign diplomats ineligible for health insurance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions under the ACA;

  • Requires the Secretary of HHS to certify to Congress that no foreign diplomats are receiving such benefits under the ACA; and

  • Requires the Secretary of State to notify all foreign missions in the U.S. that their personnel are ineligible for these benefits under the ACA.

Note:  The introduction of H.R. 5825 follows a year of inquiry by Chairman Royce.  After the arrest of 25 Russian diplomats for attempting to illegally obtain Medicaid benefits in December of 2013, Chairman Royce began pressing the Obama Administration for information.  Initially, the Committee sent a letter to Secretary Kerry ​requesting information on the arrest and the eligibility of foreign diplomats receiving government-funded medical benefits.  In January and April, the Committee also sent letters to the Secretary of HHS regarding foreign diplomats’ eligibility to receive Obamacare.  In a response on September 30, HHS confirmed foreign diplomats’ eligibility for government subsidized healthcare.  In October, Chairman Royce and Chairman Camp wrote to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen seeking information about how many foreign diplomats have enrolled in the Affordable Care Act and have received subsidies.