TOMORROW: House to Vote on Barletta’s Verify First Act
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow will vote on legislation introduced by Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) to stop fraud in the distribution of health care tax credits and protect taxpayer dollars.
Under Obamacare, the federal government pays the Advanced Premium Tax Credits to people before first verifying that they qualify to receive those benefits. If individuals cannot verify their legal immigration status, the Internal Revenue Service is forced to chase after the money.
This “pay and chase” model of distributing tax credits has significantly increased costs to taxpayers. In fact, a 2016 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report revealed that, under Obamacare, $750 million in taxpayer-funded health care subsidies went to more than 500,000 people who did not qualify for those benefits.
Barletta’s Verify First Act, H.R. 2581, would address this problem by simply requiring the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services to work together to verify first that an individual is a citizen, national, or legal immigrant before giving that individual the advanced health insurance premium tax credit.
“Every taxpayer dollar that goes to someone committing fraud is a dollar that is not going to help working families and those who truly need and deserve assistance,” Barletta said. “My bill would fix this problem by verifying that an individual is legally entitled to taxpayer-funded benefits before sending that money out the door. The American people expect that we are already doing this. No business would give a refund without first verifying a receipt. The federal government should be held to the same standard.”
Concerned about abuse of taxpayer dollars as Congress considered the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Barletta was able to secure a guarantee from President Donald J. Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan that the House would vote on the Verify First Act. The bill passed the powerful House Ways and Means Committee on May 24, 2017, and is part of the multi-step process Congress is working through to repeal and replace Obamacare.
NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform endorsed Barletta’s bill.