Charles and David Koch are indirect beneficiaries of subsidies allowed under the Affordable Care Act.
Let that sink in for a moment. They've spent millions to kill it, while reaping the benefits for Koch Industries employees. When they take subsidies from the federal government, that impacts Koch Industries' bottom line. When that bottom line is impacted, their income goes up, because they own Koch Industries via a holding company that passes through the profits as personal income to shareholders.
How and why did it come to pass that they were able to take ACA subsidies?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., renewed his criticisms of the Kochs this week. In a Senate chamber speech, Reid noted that Koch Industries benefited from a temporary provision of the health care law.
The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, Reid said, "helped the company pay health insurance costs for its retirees who are not covered by Medicare." Reid asked sarcastically: "So it's OK for Koch Industries to save money through Obamacare" even as Koch-related groups seek the law's repeal.
When Congress enacted the health care law in 2010, it appropriated $5 billion for the temporary reinsurance program. The goal was to subsidize employers' costs for workers who retire before they become eligible for Medicare. Hundreds of employers applied - many were corporations, cities and public universities - and virtually all the money was soon distributed.
"If the Affordable Care Act is so awful," Reid asked, "why did Koch Industries use it to their advantage?"
Federal records show that Koch Industries received $1.4 million in early retiree subsidies. That's considerably less than the sums many other employers received. A Koch Industries spokesman said he had no comment on Reid's latest criticisms.
Hey, $1.4 million is still $1.4 million than the rest of us have. And they're all out there calling US moochers? In my lifetime, I couldn't accumulate that much money in tax subsidies, much less in one year.
It wasn't only Koch Industries, for sure. AT&T was a big beneficiary, as was UPS and Altria Industries. But it is the cynicism that allows them to clutch $1.4 million of taxpayers' money while telling the rest of us to go to hell that's so stunning.
Who's the moocher now, Charles Koch?
Update: The White House is on it.
— Jesse Lee (@jesseclee44) April 8, 2014