Government Gives Away More than a Half-Billion Dollars by Obamacare Mistake

First we are told government can do a better job in healthcare and then an Obamacare mistake pays out more than $572 million!

For years we have been propagandized about how private health insurance is so bad in this country and needs to be fixed. (This wasn’t entirely untrue, but what was wrong with private health insurance was due to government interventions that were never acknowledged.) We were also told how inefficient healthcare is. It needs to go electronic, for example, and the government has to force doctors’ offices to make the transition. Even patients were criticized for operating without government direction. Too few young healthy people get insurance so they must be forced to do so—and not only forced to get insurance but forced to pay premiums that pay for the medical care of the old and sick.

Basically, every aspect of what people were doing without government help or direction was critiqued as if it were wrong and inefficient. If only we had laws that reduced all that anarchy and forced us all to behave in a more efficient manner.

And then we get an Obamacare mistake—one in which the government gives away a half-billion dollars.

Thus, the Washington Free Beacon headline: “Over $572 Million in Excess Obamacare Tax Credits Paid Out.”

The Internal Revenue Service paid out over $572 million in excess Obamacare tax credits and sent incorrect forms to over half a million individuals due to a computer programming error, according to a new government report.

The report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on Tuesday inspected the interim results of the IRS’s verification of Obamacare’s Premium Tax Credits, which were created to assist low or medium-income individuals and families to purchase health insurance in the marketplace.

Those who are eligible to receive tax credits under Obamacare can choose to have their credits paid either directly to their health insurance provider as a partial payment towards their monthly premiums—known as the Advance Premium Tax Credit—or can receive the tax credits as one lump sum on their annual income tax return.

According to the IRS, $11 billion worth of tax credits were paid in advance to insurers for fiscal year 2014. By March 26, 2015, the IRS processed around 1.4 million tax returns that showed $4.4 billion in credits, bringing the total to more than $15 billion for 2014. Individuals claimed more than $240 million in additional premium credits and received $572 million in excess advance payments, according to the agency.

What happened? The wrong form was sent out by mistake. People calculated the payments on the basis of much higher (!) 2015 premiums instead of 2014 premiums.

I guess when you’re tossing around $15 billion, a half billion lost is “reasonable.”

The Department of Treasury has said it will not try to get the people who received the excess money to pay it all back. I suppose that is the right call. The money has probably already been spent. They would be basically fining people for misleading them.

But we have to question those who had no problem putting major sectors of the economy under the direct control of a giant, expanding, tax-fed bureaucracy. How does that plan look now? Does it really make sense to put all that power and money in one “place”?