Cause of Action Institute (CoA) filed a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request Monday in efforts to ascertain if the Obama administration was marketing ObamaCare to young adults by using their IRS tax returns.
CoA filed the FOIA request with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a key government agency charged with carrying out provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, CoA is requesting investigation with the office of inspectors general from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.
“We request that the Inspector General initiate an investigation into Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) roles in using taxpayer information to market Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) health insurance plans to individuals who have opted out of the program,” the FOIA reads.
The key question in the FOIA filed by CoA is whether or not, “in an effort to boost enrollment in ACA programs,” the Obama Administration attempted “to market the ACA to individuals who declined coverage by using information obtained from individual tax returns.”
The legality of the alleged actions by the Obama administration would almost certainly be in question.
“Federal laws protect the confidentiality of tax returns and tax information. According to 26 § U.S.C. 6103, it is unlawful for an employee of the United States or a State to “disclose any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service … The law allows for tax information to be used for the limited purpose of determining ACA subsidy eligibility. It does not, however, permit CMS to market ACA subsidies to taxpayers who have already rejected ObamaCare,” CoA states in the FOIA request.
“The American taxpayers have a right to know who has access to their tax information and whether the federal government is breaking the law by using that information to market ObamaCare,” the FOIA concludes.
“Information obtained from tax returns should not be used to sell health insurance. The federal government is obligated to protect the confidentiality of tax returns. Instead, the Obama administration appears to be mining Americans’ tax returns to advertise and sell ObamaCare to people who don’t want it,” CoA Institute Assistant Vice President Henry Kerner told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Obamacare faces some major challenges in getting those under 26 years old to enroll in the health care exchanges. Under the Young Adult Coverage provision of the ACA, parents can add or keep their children on their health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old. As a result, some 3 million young people are staying on parent insurance plans, a figure double the number of people ages 18-25 currently enrolled in the exchanges.
The Obama administration is so keen on Millennial enrollment because the system needs younger, healthier people to offset the cost of older and more illness-prone members of society. It is a difficult sell for the administration, because many young people faced with the choice of staying on parent health insurance (at no cost to them) or enrolling on their own will likely choose the status quo.
Given that health insurance could cost a young person hundreds of dollars a month, many choose to spend their money on more immediate needs.
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