Barletta Supports Verifying Income for Obamacare Subsidies
- Bill Corrects HHS Rule Allowing Applicants to “Self-Attest” Income Eligibility -
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, voted today in favor of legislation to save hundreds of billions of dollars by overriding a rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would allow applicants for Obamacare subsidies to “self-attest” that they are eligible for government assistance. The “No Subsidies Without Verification Act” (H.R. 2775) requires the HHS Inspector General to verify that subsidies are issued to recipients who have proven to be eligible based on their financial situations. The change would save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars by preventing fraudulent subsidies from being paid. The bill passed the House of Representatives.
“This is just simple common sense,” Rep. Barletta said. “You get a credit check when you borrow money for a car or a house, or even to sign a lease on an apartment. Why shouldn’t we verify someone’s eligibility when they’re applying for assistance from the taxpayers?”
Under the HHS rule, released in July in some 600 pages of Obamacare regulations, applicants would themselves attest they were eligible for government subsidies for the health care exchanges. HHS now says it will later audit the subsidy program, a process which could take as much as a year to complete while all applicants continue to receive the assistance. According to the Wall Street Journal, failure to verify eligibility prior to awarding the benefits could cost taxpayers $250 billion in fraudulent payments.
“Even if HHS does follow through on the audits – and there’s no guarantee it will – billions of dollars will be flowing out the door before we even know if the people getting it are eligible to receive it,” Barletta said. “This is yet another case of finding out what’s in Obamacare after it has been passed.”
The Democrat-led Senate Appropriations Committee has already unanimously passed legislation to affirm its belief that recipients must be verifiably eligible for subsidies. There is also companion legislation to H.R. 2775 in the Senate (S. 1455, Sen. Coburn).