ObamaCare health program made illegal payments says GAO
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), on Thursday, said that the Obama administration has violated law by directing funds in an ObamaCare program to insurers instead of to the U.S. Treasury department.
The issue by the GAO is that ObamaCare’s so-called reinsurance program, which is designed to stabilize the market and protect against premium hikes in the early years of the healthcare law. Under the program, the government collects money from insurers and then gives it to plans with high-cost enrollees, the Hill reported.
The Hill stated that the reinsurance program was designed to collect $10 billion in 2014, its first year of existence, and another $2 billion that would be deposited into the Treasury.
Nevertheless, the program did not bring in nearly enough money to cover those amounts and the administration, through regulations in 2014, prioritized giving money to insurers, and none of that money was given to Treasury for the first year.
In the GAO report, they said, “We conclude that HHS lacks authority to ignore the statute’s directive to deposit amounts from collections under the transitional reinsurance program in the Treasury and instead make deposits to the Treasury only if its collections reach the amounts for reinsurance payments specified in section 1341. This prioritization of collections for payments to issuers over payments to the Treasury is not authorized.”
“The agency must give effect to the extent possible to all of section 1341, and, therefore,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.”
“In light of the foregoing analysis, we 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 GAO concluded.
When Obama was running for President in 2008, he said, “If you’ve got health insurance, we’re going to help that employer save $2,500 per family per year. Those savings are going to be passed along to the workers.”
Nationally, though, premium hikes are expected to average 8 percent in 2017 and many insurance companies are seeking much more than that, for the exchange plans and those offered to employers, Fox News reported.
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