FreedomWorks, Republican legislators call out HHS for prioritizing insurers over taxpayers
FreedomWorks recently joined Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) in calling out the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for paying higher regard to health insurance companies over taxpayers through the Obamacare reinsurance program.
Since its implementation of Obamacare in 2010, HHS has chosen to prioritize payments to insurers over payments to taxpayers, the organization contends. By design, the Transitional Reinsurance Program was created to alleviate the high costs associated with Obamacare. Instead, the money went towards “powerful and well-connected insurers.”
“We support Sens. Sasse and Johnson and Governmental Affairs Committee’s demand for answers,” FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon said in press release.
Brandon reinforced the Congressional Research Service’s determination that HHS’s interpretation of Section 1341 is in conflict with the statute’s plain language -- and that the department should be held responsible for wasting taxpayer dollars and prioritizing insurance companies over American citizens.
“The amount of funding that taxpayers were promised through the reinsurance program was $5 billion, but HHS reports only $500 million available to taxpayers,” Jason Pye, director of communications for FreedomWorks, recently told Patient Daily. “Where is the rest of the money? It appears to be blatant cronyism, with HHS choosing insurers over taxpayers.”
The three-year Transitional Reinsurance Program required HHS to collect $25 billion from insurers. Of that amount, HHS was mandated to send $5 billion directly to the U.S. Treasury to offset some of the costs of Obamacare on taxpayers.
HHS was supposed to send $2 billion in 2014, $2 billion in 2015 and $1 billion in 2016. To date, HHS has only paid $500 million of the amount already past due.
Pye said the government’s mismanagement of taxpayer dollars is yet another sign that Obamacare has failed to live up to “the lofty goals” promised by the Obama administration.
“In 2007, then-candidate Obama promised that health insurance premiums would fall by $2,500; that turned out to be untrue,” Pye said. “The administration promised that Americans who liked their health insurance coverage and doctors could keep their coverage and doctors. That turned out to be untrue for millions of Americans.”
The risk corridors program -- also established to help insurers offering Obamacare plans charge lower premiums and attract more enrollees -- is set to expire at the end of the year.
“The risk corridors program was supposed to be self-sustaining, without any taxpayer dollars used to bailout insurers,” Pye said. “But insurers have sustained such heavy losses that there aren't enough funds in the program to cover the payments. Thankfully, Congress has prohibited any taxpayer dollars from being used to for the program.”