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Black Calls for Support of the No Subsidies Without Verification Act of 2014 on House Floor

Jun 11, 2014 Issues: Health


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Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) took to the House floor to call on support for her bill, H.R. 4805, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act of 2014, following news reports that more than one million Americans receiving health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act may be receiving an amount in error because there is no system in place to properly verify the income eligibility of applicants. Congressman Black’s legislation would simply require an income verification system to be put in place before any additional taxpayer subsidies are given out. Below is a transcript of her remarks, or click here for video.

Mr. Speaker, more than one million Americans who signed up for healthcare on the federal Obamacare exchange may be receiving an incorrect tax payer subsidy for their plans due to the fact that the Obama Administration pushed this law through before the systems were in place to accurately confirm eligibility.

This isn’t mere incompetence on the part of the White House; no, this is a direct result of the Administration’s insistence on moving forward with their arbitrary October 1st, 2013 open enrollment date, regardless of the consequences.

Consider the problem this presents, as there is currently no real time system in place to ensure only those who qualify for subsidies receive them.

This means that hard working American taxpayers may be left on the hook for potentially billions in fraudulent subsidy payments.

Furthermore, it means that someone who simply fills out their Obamacare enrollment application incorrectly could be hounded for years by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes owed on improper payments.

This problem was entirely preventable.

That’s why, in the wake of a clandestine holiday rules change that delayed income verification provisions in Obamacare last summer, I introduced legislation that would have prevented any Obamacare subsidies from being doled out until a system was in place to make sure that only those determined eligible would receive them.

The House acted on this legislation, passing it in a bipartisan vote last September to help protect American taxpayers from rampant fraud and abuse.

Unfortunately, instead of giving my bill the consideration it deserved, the Senate stripped the verification provision contained in the bill and replaced it with language requiring a mere report to Congress by Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the end of last year, certifying that there is a system in place to verify incomes before subsidies are paid out.

Predictably, this weakened income verification language has failed, as we now learn from news reports that over a million Americans are potentially receiving an amount in error.

That is why I have now introduced H.R. 4805, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act of 2014.

The tax credits and cost-sharing assistance for Obamacare premiums administered by HHS is estimated to amount to a staggering $10 billion per month, making this one of the largest entitlement programs in the nation. 

My bill would simply require an income verification system to be put in place before any additional taxpayer subsidies are given out. 

Mr. Speaker, Obamacare has become such a boondoggle that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office can’t even score it anymore.

My commonsense legislation would slow the bleeding this law is having on American taxpayers, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to move it forward.

Thank you, and I yield back.

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Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.