First it's called Lifeline. It began while Reagan was in office with a narrow focus. It was to help low income seniors & the disabled maintain a landline.
Second under Bush the prg was expanded to include cell phones primarily as a safety measure for victims of domestic violence. But true to DC culture dems weren't happy with the narrow focus. Gaining the expansion they wanted dem's used it to hold up other bills. Dems got it & pimped it out for votes back home.
Third if you don't think taxpayers are paying for it take a look at your bills next time they come in. Specifically all the taxes. It's about $10 a month for each bill.
SO TAX PAYERS DO PAY FOR THE CELL PHONES. Just like we pay the mortgages of people on Sec 8.