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Lawmakers subpoena IRS, Treasury over ACA payments


Following what they claim is the Obama administration's unlawful payments to insurance companies for almost a year, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) have submitted subpoenas to both the IRS and the Secretary of the Treasury, according to an announcement from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The congressmen have also requested similar information from Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the announcement said. Upton and Brady first launched their investigation in February 2015, and they say HHS was reluctant to provide any requested information. They then resubmitted a request in July 2015, but were again met with opposition. Finally, after a December 2015 final request went unanswered, the chairmen are requiring that the Treasury comply with their requests by Feb. 3.

Upton and Brady have halted their plans to subpoena Burwell, as she agreed this week to brief Upton on the issue via phone, the announcement says.

The committee leaders have been concerned that the administration is paying subsidies to insurance companies--known as cost-sharing reductions tied to the Affordable Care Act--without approval from Congress. These subsidies have totaled more than $5 billion to date, and it is estimated that it would grow to $170 billion over the next 10 years, Upton and Brady say. 

House Republicans are also pressuring the administration about funding for other ACA provisions, FierceHealthPayer has reported. Brady and Upton had threatened to subpoena Burwell over what they believe is misuse of federal funds for the ACA's Basic Health Program, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee has asked the Government Accountability Office to examine the administration's role in some states' transition from state-based information technology systems for their exchanges to the federal program.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement

Related Articles:
House Republicans press HHS about Affordable Care Act funding
CMS' Andy Slavitt defends oversight of state exchanges
Cost-sharing reduction plans save individuals $479 annually