The IRS paid out $4 billion in Obamacare subsidies that were not legitimate, but the way the law was written, they can’t even try to recoup a quarter of that money.
And there’s no guaranty that they can collect any of the other $3 billion. The Congress knew when they wrote the bill that would be overages that could not be collected. Seems like a crappy way to do business, but remember, the Democrats wrote the bill. The subsidies cost the treasury about 27 billion a year.
The problem is that the subsidies are based on income, but many people actually made more than they originally declared.
Republicans are particularly chagrined by the overpayments, pointing to it as evidence that the 2010 law’s subsidy structure is flawed.
Yet a House GOP bill in 2017 that would have recaptured all of the overages, as part of a multiyear transition to a new health care system, was discarded by the Senate.
Democrats, poised to take the majority in the House next year, have vowed to defend Obamacare against any major changes, leaving GOP lawmakers to complain about ongoing hiccups.
“As we’ve known from its inception, Obamacare is incredibly complex and has created unprecedented burdens for patients and providers,” said Jesse Solis, a spokesman for GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee. “House Republicans have worked on a bipartisan basis multiple times to improve the recoupment of improper overpayments. We hope Democrats choose to work with us in the next Congress to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent properly.”
The parties probably won’t see eye to eye on Obamacare any time soon, however.
House Democrats plan to push bills that would increase the law’s subsidies or expand other government insurance programs, as Republicans continue to insist on free-market reforms.
The main wild card is a lawsuit that argues Congress’ decision to gut the “individual mandate” penalty rendered the rest of the law unconstitutional.