Several House Republicans have introduced legislation to reverse an Obamacare loophole that make foreign diplomats working in the U.S. eligible for exchange coverage and taxpayer subsidies.
The House Foreign Affairs and Ways and Means committees discovered in October, after a year-long investigation, that the health-care law allows foreign diplomats with “A” or “G” visas, and their families, to enroll in Obamacare exchanges and to receive premium and cost-sharing subsidies. (RELATED: Foreign Diplomats Get Obamacare Subsidies Too)
After the committees uncovered the provision (sparked by an investigation into Russian diplomats illegally obtaining Medicaid benefits), the Department of Health and Human Services belatedly confirmed it.
Foreign Affairs committee chair Rep. Ed Royce and Ways and Means chair Rep. Dave Camp decried the loophole, noting that U.S. diplomats in foreign countries are covered by U.S. health insurance with overseas coverage, not foreign taxpayers.
The committees immediately asked the administration to reveal how many diplomats are taking advantage of their eligibility and argued that taxpayers shouldn’t be responsible for financing health care for the employees of other countries.
Now Royce and Camp have introduced a bill to end diplomats’ eligibility for Obamacare.
“Americans’ tax dollars should not be used to subsidize foreign diplomats’ health coverage,” Royce said in a statement. “These foreign governments should cover the healthcare costs of the diplomats they send here.”
The legislation would amend the Affordable Care Act provision that allows exchange coverage and subsidies. According to the legislation, it appears no one in the administration has any idea how many diplomats have obtained taxpayer subsidies — HHS, the Department of State and the IRS all said they didn’t keep track of the data.
The bill would also require the State Department to notify all foreign missions in the U.S. that they’re no longer eligible for subsidies.
“It is absolutely unacceptable — and unfair — that foreign diplomats can have their health costs subsidized by the American taxpayer, all thanks to the President’s health law,” Camp added. “It is not the responsibility of honest, hardworking Americans to provide health coverage for foreign diplomats, but rather a duty of those nations sending them there.”