A little-known provision in the Obamacare legislation has sent $2 billion to corporations, unions and state public employee systems to subsidize health coverage for retirees.
At the current rate, the government could blow through the entire $5 billion budgeted for the program before it is set to end, Byron York of The Washington Examiner reported.
The discovery by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee was made just before a hearing to focus on Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The CCIO oversees the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, which was set up to subsidize insurance for workers who retired before they were eligible for Medicare, the paper said.
The early retirees often have trouble getting health insurance, an HHS report said, because of age or chronic conditions, and the program was set up to bridge the gap between retirement and the creation of health-care exchanges provided for in Obamacare come into being in 2014.
The biggest chunk of the money paid out so far has gone to the United Auto Workers, which received over $206 million. AT&T collected $140 million, Verizon $91 million, General Electric $36 million, and General Motors $19 million, the paper said.
State governments have also collected large sums with the Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio receiving $70 million and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas $68 million.