Originally published April 24 2015
Why does Obamacare make taxpayers fund health insurance for non-U.S. diplomats?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The massive Affordable Care Act continues to shock consumers with the costs it has forced upon the health insurance industry. In addition, the law will cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars more per new Medicaid enrollee by doing less to expand coverage than previously stated.
But now, incredibly, there is even more bad news for taxpayers: Unless recently introduced legislation makes it past a dicey Senate and, eventually, a presidential veto, Americans will be on the hook to provide Obamacare subsidies to foreign diplomats and their staffs.
As reported by The Weekly Standard, a new bill has been introduced in Congress that "seeks to prevent foreign diplomats and employees of the United Nations from" being covered with "taxpayer-funded Obamacare subsidies." The measure was introduced by two Republicans - Rep. Ed Royce of California and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
According to a press release from Royce's office, the two lawmakers "introduced H.R. 1368, the No Healthcare Subsidies for Foreign Diplomats Act of 2015, legislation to prevent foreign diplomats from receiving subsidized health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"According to the Department of Health and Human Services," the press release continued, "foreign diplomats and United Nations employees in the United States are currently eligible to obtain American taxpayer-funded subsidies under the ACA, such as premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, just like American citizens and lawful permanent residents.
"By contrast, U.S. diplomats overseas do not depend on foreign taxpayers for health care coverage, relying instead on domestic health insurance plans that provide overseas coverage," the release said.
"This is unacceptable" As summarized by The Weekly Standard the bill:
-- Expresses the sense of Congress that foreign diplomats should be allowed to purchase health insurance coverage in the U.S., but the cost of that coverage should be borne by their sending States;
-- Expresses the sense of Congress that U.S. taxpayers should not subsidize the health insurance expenses of foreign diplomats;
-- Amends the Internal Revenue Code to make foreign diplomats ineligible for health insurance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions under the ACA;
-- Requires the Secretary of HHS to certify to Congress that no foreign diplomats are receiving such benefits under the ACA; and
-- Requires the Secretary of State to notify all foreign missions in the U.S. that their personnel are ineligible for these benefits under the ACA.
The legislation would also amend The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, "to prevent foreign diplomats from being eligible to receive health insurance premium tax credits and health insurance cost-sharing reductions."
"After a year-long investigation, the Obama Administration finally came clean about the fact that foreign diplomats are eligible for taxpayer-funded health care subsidies," said Royce, in a statement to the media. "This is unacceptable. Americans' tax dollars should not be used to foot the bill for foreign diplomats' health care coverage.
"I am pleased to reintroduce this legislation and look forward to working with Chairman Ryan to pass this commonsense reform," he continued.
No one in the administration will say how many diplomats are currently getting benefits "American taxpayers should not pick up the tab for foreigners on Obamacare. This bill will help protect tax dollars, and I want to thank Chairman Royce for his work on this issue," added Ryan.
It's not clear whether congressional Democrats will support the measure but that is vital for its passage, since President Obama is likely to veto the measure (as he would any bill that rolls back provisions of his signature legislation).
The Washington Free Beacon reported that the White House has so far refused congressional requests for information regarding the number of foreign diplomats currently receiving Obamacare benefits and what the total cost to taxpayers has been thus far.
Also, the WFB said, one government agency - Health and Human Services - and the Department of State have failed to produce that information as well. As such, Ryan and Royce are now asking the IRS for the data.
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