A government watchdog said Thursday that one of the programs of Obamacare under the Obama administration was making illegal payments to its insurers instead of the U.S. Treasury.
The Government Accountability Office took issue with Obamacare’s reinsurance program, which is designed to stabilize the healthcare marketplace and protect against premium increases in the early years of the healthcare law, The Hill reported.
The Hill reports that under the program, the government takes money from insurers and then gives it to plans with high-cost enrollees.
The reinsurance program was supposed to collect $10 billion in 2014 in its first year of existence, and an extra $2 billion was supposed to go to the Treasury.
The program didn’t bring in nearly that amount, so the administration, through regulations in 2014, gave that money to the insurers instead of the Treasury.
The GAO ruled that this violated the law’s text, but the administration argued that they had the authority to make those payments to insurers because not enough money came in to cover all the payments.
The GAO said in response that the law’s text did not give the Health and Human Services Administration license to make those payments regardless of whether or not there was enough money to go around, and said they could have made payments in accordance with the law.
Problems with programs such as the reinsurance program have caused financial losses among insurers and have caused insurers to drop out of the marketplace or raise their premiums.
The HHS argues that it paid insurers in order to protect against premium hikes.
A group of seven Republican congressional chairmen called on the administration to stop paying insurers over the Treasury.
“The Administration needs to put an end to the Great Obamacare Heist immediately,” they wrote in a statement.