I’ve asked Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to explain the massive jump in costs for premium subsidies. The projected figure for subsidy expenditures has gone from nearly $16 billion in the president’s 2012 budget up to nearly $22 billion in his 2014 budget. Why is the administration expecting these costs to soar? Is it because they are seeing employers dropping coverage, leaving more employees to get ObamaCare insurance through an exchange subsidized with these tax credits? Is it because they expect insurance premiums to soar, driving up the percentage-figure the government must cover with subsidies? Maybe both.
Despite repeated congressional attempts to get answers about the basis for cost estimates on these premium credits, the administration has been far from helpful or forthcoming. This is not acceptable, since Congress is charged with overseeing the executive branch.
As for the president’s claim that his is the “most transparent” administration in history? Well, you try figuring out how the “Affordable Care Act” office at the IRS works: Who reports to whom, when, what they discuss and how the law will be implemented? Both Treasury’s inspector general and the Government Accountability Office have tried to find out, and even they don’t really know the reporting structure of this IRS department.