Skip to content

In the News: Administration Misusing Taxpayer Dollars to Prop Up Failing Health Care Law

October 13, 2016

A nonpartisan government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), recently issued a ruling confirming what House Republicans already know—the Administration is illegally using taxpayer dollars in an attempt to prop up another part of its failing health care law. According to the GAO, the Administration is diverting billions of dollars, intended for deficit reduction, in order to pay insurance companies participating in the collapsing Obamacare exchanges. In the decision, the GAO wrote:

“…[W]e conclude that HHS lacks authority to ignore the statute’s directive to deposit amounts from collections under the transitional reinsurance program to the Treasury and instead make deposits in the Treasury only if its collections reach the amounts for reinsurance payments specified in section 1341. The agency is not authorized to prioritize collections in this manner. The agency must give effect to the extent possible to all of section 1341, and, to do so, is required to collect and deposit amounts for the Treasury, regardless of whether its collections fall short of the amounts specified in statute for reinsurance payments. HHS may not use amounts collected for the Treasury to make reinsurance payments.”

Here’s what they’re saying in the news about the GAO’s latest findings:

Associated Press: Report Says Obama Administration Failed To Follow Health Law
“The opinion from the Government Accountability Office is a setback for the White House and bolsters Republican complaints that administration officials bent the law as problems arose carrying out its complex provisions.”

Morning Consult: GAO Sides With GOP, Saying HHS Owes Treasury an ACA Deposit
“HHS officials read the law differently than Republicans or the GAO. They say the law gives the administration the flexibility to distribute funds as it sees fit if there is a funding shortfall, and that it is silent on what to do if the amounts collected are less than expected … But the GAO report says the law is the law, regardless of how things have played out in reality.”

Forbes: Busted: GAO Finds Payments To Insurers Under Affordable Care Act Are Illegal
“Under the GAO’s interpretation of the law (section 1341 of the Affordable Care Act), no matter what amount the government collected for this program, 20% of the total belongs to the Treasury. The GAO found that the language of the statute was crystal clear and that the Obama administration’s efforts to get around that language were ‘unpersuasive’ and ‘internally inconsistent.’”

The Hill: Watchdog: Obamacare Program Made Illegal Payments
“The administration had argued that it had discretion to prioritize the payments because not enough money came in to make them all. But the GAO rejected that argument from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), pointing to the text of the law … The GAO said the administration instead could have made payments proportional to what the law intended.”

Fiscal Times: How Obamacare Execs Broke the Law and Cost Taxpayers Billions
“Even with all of this illegal use of funds, the reinsurance program has failed at its basic purpose. Premiums haven’t stabilized at all – they have escalated almost exponentially since Obamacare’s first open enrollment in the autumn of 2013. The reason that HHS kept those funds from Treasury is that they clearly saw that they would need every dollar they could get to pay off insurers and keep them from fleeing the system.”

National Review: Another Obamacare Bailout Is Declared Illegal
“And while the GAO’s reinsurance opinion is the most recent legal smackdown of the Obama administration’s craven efforts to bail out insurers, it is by no means the first: In May, Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the administration violated the constitution by spending funds on cost-sharing subsidies that Congress never appropriated.”

The GAO’s latest decision is further proof that Obamacare is not working for the American people. And using these illegal payments as an incentive for insurance companies to remain on the failing exchanges is not the solution. That’s why as part of the Better Way agenda House Republicans unveiled a plan for a health care system that serves all Americans, putting patients first so they have access to the high-quality, affordable care they want and deserve.