$60 million to Minnesota in one month
Here at LI, we’ve covered numerous aspects of ObamaCare from its questionable passage to legal challenges to various executive branch “tweaks” and shady exemptions to the devastating effects the law has had on millions of Americans.
Obama has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t think he needs Congress’ approval to change the law, and now he’s being accused of funding parts of it without Congressional appropriations. Funds set aside specifically for tax refunds owed to hard-working Americans are being used to subsidize the Basic Health Program associated with ObamaCare. According to Paige Winfield Cunningham:
Leading Republicans are charging that the Obama administration is illegally funding yet another part of Obamacare, in addition to the part of the healthcare law over which House Republicans are already suing.
Their latest criticism centers on the Affordable Care Act’s basic health program, an optional program for states that started this year, in which low-income residents can get subsidized, state-contracted health plans instead of buying them through the new online marketplaces.
The administration is funding the program illegally by using a pot of IRS money used for tax refunds, says Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who leads oversight efforts on the House Ways and Means Committee.
The law authorizes that money can be used for the law’s insurance premium subsidies but not for the basic health program, he argues. He says using that funding would require approval from Congress since it is not authorized within the text of the law itself.
So far, according to Roskam via The Weekly Standard, “the administration has paid out $60 million to the state of Minnesota, and that’s just for one month.” Why Minnesota? Because it’s the only state to set up a basic health program (so far).
Minnesota is the only state that has set up the basic health program, although New York is taking steps in that direction. If states opt in, the federal government would cover 95 percent of the subsidies that enrollees would have otherwise collected in the marketplaces, although it’s not allowed to cover administrative costs.
Aides said they only recently discovered how the administration was funding Minnesota’s program, through looking at the state’s first-quarter payment this year.
Prodded by Roskam at a hearing Wednesday, Burwell acknowledged the basic health program payments are coming out of the IRS fund but said “tax credits for programs” aren’t part of the discretionary funding that must be approved by Congress.
“What extra-constitutional authority are you invoking that allows you to spend money that has not been appropriated?” Roskam asked her.
Watch Roskam on Greta:
Using a fund that is set aside to cover money owed to Americans seems intentional. After all, Obama and his media enablers will claim—however illogically—that the evil Republicans are trying to stop you from getting your income tax refund. This Chicago-style tactic would be nothing new to the Obama team, who intentionally caused the most public suffering they could during the 2013 government shutdown and placed the blame with Republicans.
The Obama administration is probably counting on Republicans to avoid this particular battle like the plague.DONATE
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