U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) hopes to put an end to “well-connected” health insurance companies benefiting from money intended for hard-working American taxpayers by giving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) an ultimatum: pay back taxpayer dollars used for an Obamacare program or face a 50 percent cut to the program’s budget.
Walker introduced the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act that seeks to force HHS to “stop illegally” giving insurance companies money that should be going directly to the U.S. Treasury.
The amount being addressed in the bill is $3.5 billion that HHS has yet to repay the Treasury, as required by law, for the Obamacare Transitional Reinsurance Program.
"Obamacare isn’t working, but that doesn’t mean taxpayers should be cheated through a corporate welfare system that rewards well-connected insurance companies,” Walker recently told Patient Daily.
In order to alleviate the high costs associated with the Obamacare, one of the three programs created was the Transitional Reinsurance Program, a three-year program that required HHS to collect $25 billion from insurers. Of that amount, HHS was mandated to send $5 billion directly to the Treasury to offset some of the cost burden 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. Instead, Walker said, the money is being sent to well-connected insurance companies.
“All I am trying to do here is make sure that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services follows the law they help write,” he said.
In a press release, Walker said his bill should not be a partisan idea, and that the federal government is not above the law and should “prioritize the people it serves over big insurance companies.”
“In Washington, this kind of lawlessness gets overlooked too much,” he said. “Federal bureaucrats are not above the laws they force upon the American people.”
Walker’s bill has garnered the support of Americans for Tax Reform and Citizens Against Government Waste.
In a letter to Walker last month, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist applauded Walker's effort “to stop the Obama administration from illegally bailing out insurance companies.”“The $3.5 billion in Obamacare reinsurance corporate welfare payments are merely the latest effort by the administration to ignore the law to the benefit of monied special interests,” Norquist said. “Members of Congress should have no hesitation supporting your important, pro-taxpayer legislation and recovering billions in illegal slush fund payments.”