Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 235-191, H.R. 2775, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act. I supported this legislation because I feel it preemptively addresses an issue that will, if left unchecked, end up costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.
Under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, those whose annual income is less than $46,000 for an individual and $94,500 for a family of four will receive a taxpayer subsidized “premium payment” that will go towards covering healthcare premiums offered through the exchanges set up under the legislation. However, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal department tasked with implementing a large portion of Obamacare, reported that the systems to verify the information included in applications were not in place. Therefore, the Department would be relying on self-attestation with respect to the veracity of the information submitted. Unfortunately, this presents an incredible opportunity for those willing to defraud the Federal government by not reporting their entire income. According to the Wall Street Journal, fraudulent subsidy payments could account for $250 billion over the next decade. H.R. 2775 prohibits the distribution of these subsidies until the HHS Inspector General can certify that an operational verification program is in place.
Across the nation, millions of families sit at their kitchen tables every day in order to figure out their limited finances and to make difficult decisions, ensuring that their hard earned dollars are being stretched to maximum effect. This same accountability must be placed on the Federal government because -- whether it takes place at HHS or any other Federal agency -- waste, fraud and abuse is rampant, and Americans are simply tired of seeing their hard earned tax dollars misused.