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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Nate Jackson / Sep. 30, 2016

HHS Robs Taxpayers for Illegal ObamaCare Bailout

Just the latest instance of Obama’s sleazy efforts to save his favorite law.

How bad is ObamaCare? Six years after its passage, it may cost Democrats the Senate. Nearly every bit of news about the law is bad — skyrocketing premiums, co-ops closing, insurers abandoning the exchanges, millions paying the penalty rather than buying coverage. And now the latest. A program called “transitional insurance” collected fees from private insurance plans to redistribute to insurance companies to cover for more expensive enrollees. (It’s similar to but separate from “risk corridors.”) But because ObamaCare has pretty well blown through all cost estimates, the amount collected wasn’t enough. Naturally, the way Barack Obama’s administration handled that runs afoul of the law, because the Department of Health and Human Services did not allocate the required funds to the U.S. Treasury (i.e. taxpayers) before bailing out insurers. In fact, rather than make any payments to the Treasury, it sat on some extra money.

According to a new GAO report, “When total collections for benefit year 2014 — $9.7 billion — fell short of the target amount for reinsurance payments, HHS did not allocate any collections to the Treasury or to administrative expenses. Because the agency collected less than the $10 billion target for reinsurance payments, it allocated all of its collections for those payments. The agency received $7.9 billion in reinsurance claims and paid these in full, leaving approximately $1.7 billion in collections, which it carried over for reinsurance payments in subsequent benefit years. As a result, HHS did not deposit any amounts collected from issuers into the Treasury.” GAO says HHS doesn’t have that authority. All told, Obama took $3 billion in taxpayer money and gave it to private insurers instead — all because ObamaCare is such a destructive law.

The risk corridor program is facing similar trouble, and Obama is looking to — what else — circumvent Congress and the law to fix it. There’s not enough money allocated for this bailout either, so Obama’s considering a plan to raid funds set aside for federal legal settlements. That would be deceitful and probably illegal, but what else is new for this unconstitutional abomination of a “law”?

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