The Obama administration is funding a provision of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutionally and against the decision of Congress, a Republican House member says. Peter Roskam of Illinois joined Fox News's Greta van Susteren Thursday to talk about the details of his findings in an oversight investigation by the House Ways and Means committee.
"We've just learned that the administration is paying out of a tax refund account, not appropriated money, into something called the Basic Health Program, which was authorized by Obamacare to subsidize various health insurance programs, but Congress never authorized any money for it," Roskam said. "And we've just learned over the last couple of weeks that the administration has paid out $60 million to the state of Minnesota, and that's just for one month."
Minnesota is the only state that has set up the basic health program, although New York is taking steps in that direction. If states opt in, the federal government would cover 95 percent of the subsidies that enrollees would have otherwise collected in the marketplaces, although it's not allowed to cover administrative costs.
Aides said they only recently discovered how the administration was funding Minnesota's program, through looking at the state's first-quarter payment this year.
Prodded by Roskam at a hearing Wednesday, Burwell acknowledged the basic health program payments are coming out of the IRS fund but said "tax credits for programs" aren't part of the discretionary funding that must be approved by Congress.
"What extra-constitutional authority are you invoking that allows you to spend money that has not been appropriated?" Roskam asked her.
Eric Cantor is expected to announce his plan to resign as House majority leader today, probably at a meeting of all House Republicans. Cantor lost the GOP primary to David Brat, a little-known college professor, in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District on Tuesday.
“The best place to be in public life is voting ‘no’ on something that passes,” said Peter Roskam, the Illinois Republican and chief deputy whip in the House of Representatives. “Right? Because you go to everybody, the people who were opposed to it, you say, ‘Well, I was opposed to it.’ The people who were in favor of it, you say, ‘It wasn’t good enough.’ Voting no on something that passes is a very good life.”
At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing today, two Medicare trustees, Charles Blahous and Robert Reischauer, testified about necessary cuts to Medicare's Hospital Insurance program (commonly known as Medicare Part A) once the trust fund runs out of money. According to the recently released Medicare trustees' report, Part A is expected to exhaust the trust fund in 2024.
When Republicans officially take over the House of Representatives today, a small group will begin playing an influential role. It’s not the tea parties (which aren’t small). Nor is it establishment Republicans. It’s the meager Republican class of 2006.