Republicans Decry ‘Unlawful’ $45 Billion Biden Scheme to Expand Obamacare

republicans decry unlawful 45 billion biden scheme to expand obamacare

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY) on Monday decried President Joe Biden’s “unlawful” $45 billion scheme to expand Obamacare.

Jordan, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and Comer, the ranking member of the Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about the IRS’s proposed rule to “unlawfully expand eligibility for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under Obamacare.”

The IRS proposed rule follows as roughly 13 million Obamacare recipients will receive a notice of a 53 percent premium price increase as enhanced Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, subsidies will soon expire.

Last year, Biden passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, or the Democrats’ coronavirus aid bill. The bill expanded eligibility for the ACA’s subsidized plans beyond the law’s original 400 percent of the poverty line.

Jordan and Comer charged in their letter that the Biden administration wants the IRS to enact the rule for political purposes, as the potential 50 percent price hike will hit millions of Americans right before the pivotal 2022 midterm elections. The conservatives wrote:

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a proposed rule that, if finalized, would unlawfully expand eligibility for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance under ObamaCare. This proposed rule is inconsistent with both the statutory text and a rule that the IRS finalized nearly a decade ago. Although the IRS acknowledges that its existing rule is the product of ‘considerable deliberation’ and ‘a comprehensive analysis of the issue,’ the agency now seeks to reverse itself. Partisan politics appears to be driving the IRS’s sudden change. Because of Democrats’ previous weaponization of the IRS and the likelihood that this new rule will lead to tens of billions of dollars in new spending, we write to request information about this rulemaking.

The Biden Administration’s new rule proposes to ‘fix’ this ‘problem’ by changing how the agency determines whether an employee’s dependent is eligible for a premium tax credit. Under the Biden Administration’s revised approach, ‘affordability’ would be based on the premium amount for family coverage instead of the self-only coverage. The IRS’s reversal is unlawful, and it is bad policy. By deploying the IRS for partisan political ends, the Biden Administration is returning to its playbook from the Obama-Biden Administration in weaponizing the IRS to achieve partisan goals.

The lawmakers also contended that the bill is not unlawful, as they claim it violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but also would substantially increase healthcare spending at a time that Americans continue to suffer from inflation:

The IRS’s attempt to rewrite the regulation also contravenes the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Under the APA, courts must ‘hold unlawful and set aside agency action’ that violates a statute. All of the Biden Administration’s attempts to rewrite statutes have been troubling, but this one is especially so because Congress has declined to amend the text of ObamaCare in this way time and again. The Biden Administration’s attempt to circumvent the law tramples on the Constitution and ignores the will of the American people. Likewise, the rule runs the risk of ignoring reliance interests that the almost-decade-long previous policy—which faithfully interpreted the statute—has created.

Second, the IRS’s proposed rule is poor policy and will cost billions of taxpayer dollars. Most people that the rule will affect already have coverage under employer health insurance plans. Because the rule will make more dependents eligible for taxpayer-subsidized plans, those dependents will likely switch coverage. In other words, the rule ‘would mostly displace private spending with government spending as dependents replace employer coverage with subsidized exchange coverage.’ In 2020, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the change would cost more than $45 billion over ten years. In addition, the dependents who give up private-sector health insurance to enroll in a taxpayer-subsidized plan will likely end up with worse coverage. Families will be forced to navigate multiple plans that could have different networks, benefits, costs, or other disparities. Quite simply, the IRS’s rule is another step toward progressive Democrats’ goal of ‘mov[ing] all Americans to government health insurance.’

republicans decry unlawful 45 billion biden scheme to expand obamacare

President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama speak to people during an event marking the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action, told Breitbart News that the left is trying to buy off votes with expanded Obamacare subsidies ahead of an election in which they could lose their House and Senate majorities.

“The Left is once again playing politics with Americans’ health care and livelihoods in an election year. This time, they are trying to buy off voters right before midterms and cover up the true cost of their failed health care policies. The American people are already suffering from historic inflation, and the Left’s answer is to just keep pumping money into the economy,” she said. “Their cynical move won’t work. The American people want leaders who will provide more choices in health care, remove mandates that prevent doctors and patients from working together, and will reform federal health care programs to make them more effective while saving taxpayer dollars.”

Brian Blase, who served as a special assistant to former President Donald Trump for economic policy at the National Economic Council, explained in an op-ed this week why Congress should let the Obamacare subsidies from the American Rescue Plan expire.

He said:

  • The expanded subsidies were meant to be temporary relief for the coronavirus pandemic, not a permanent extension of the ACA
  • Continuing the expanded subsidies would lead to higher healthcare care prices and premiums
  • The expanded subsidies would lead to loss of employer health insurance coverage
  • The federal budget cost of the subsidies would only continue as employers drop employees’ coverage
  • The subsidies are an inefficient way of spending taxpayer dollars
  • Current healthcare obligations such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare already remain untenable portions of the federal budget
  • Continuing the subsidies would provide an “unfair benefit for wealthy households
  • Expanded subsidies would “mostly benefit” insurers
  • The extended subsidies would reduce work and economic output

Comer and Jordan requested all documents and communications relating to this issue and concluded their letter noting that Democrats have politicized the IRS to advance their agenda.

“Democrats have no qualms about weaponizing the IRS to advance their partisan political purposes. Beginning in 2010, the IRS targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status,” the Republican leaders wrote. “A subsequent bicameral investigation showed how the IRS was “responsive to the partisan policy objectives of the White House and . . . coordinate[d] with political appointees of the Obama Administration.” The Obama-Biden Administration also used the IRS to unlawfully expand an ObamaCare subsidy. It appears the White House is again using the IRS for unlawful

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

Authored by Sean Moran via Breitbart June 5th 2022