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House GOP members to Obama administration: Explain tax subsidies for health care enrollees

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A pair of powerful Republicans in the House sent yet another letter to the Treasury Department — their fourth so far — demanding documents related to the Obama administration’s decision to extend tax subsidies to people who will enroll in federally run exchanges as part of the president’s signature health care law.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, said he is losing patience with Treasury officials for failing to hand over previously redacted documents about a rule issued in May by the Internal Revenue Service. The rule makes it clear that persons who purchase insurance through federally run exchanges will be eligible for the subsidies.

But House Republicans like Mr. Camp and Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, say that interpretation flouts the letter of the law. They say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act states clearly that only persons enrolled in state-run exchanges could get the subsidies.

States like Oklahoma, which has challenged the rule in court, say they will now be subject to the “employer play-or-pay mandate” that imposes penalties on companies with more than 50 full-time employees that fail to provide adequate medical insurance coverage.

Because the penalties apply when at least one full-time employee is in line for a premium tax credit to purchase insurance, states that opted for a federally run exchange say the rule no longer will allow them to be insulated from the fines.

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