Last night, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) went On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News to expose the Obama administration's unconstitutional spending on the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Basic Health Program--a program projected to cost billions of dollars annually. At a Ways and Means hearing earlier this week, Roskam pressed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell for answers on how the Administration is paying for the program when no funding authority has been provided by Congress.
Secretary Burwell argued in response that the Administration can fund the Basic Health Program under the Premium Tax Credit provisions of the ACA, which have a permanent appropriation. But the Basic Health Program is not a tax credit, and the law does not allow payments that are not specifically appropriated. Secretary Burwell said the authority comes from pp. 1046 and 1047 of the President's Budget, but those pages don't mention the Basic Health Program even one single time. This is the first revelation of a new, second Obamacare program for which the Administration is inappropriately making payments without the legal authority to do so. The first, with respect to Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments, is the subject of the House's lawsuit against HHS
The Basic Health Program, created under Section 1331 of the ACA, allows states to offer certain health plans and received payments from the federal government to cover 95% of the cost. Minnesota was the first state to implement the program, and received $60 million in taxpayer funds in its first month of operation in January 2015. New York plans to follow suit starting on January 1, 2016, and plans to receive $2.5 billion per year from the federal government to fund the program.