Black Questions Administration Officials on Obamacare Implementation Failures
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Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R—TN--06), member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Oversight Subcommittee, questioned Obama administration officials on the status of the implementation of President Obama’s health care law. Witnesses included Gary Cohen, Deputy Administrator and Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Daniel Werfel, Principal Deputy Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Below are excerpts of Rep. Black’s exchange with these witnesses.
Congressman Black: On April the 12th in this committee … Secretary Sebelius claimed 15 times there would be no further delay in this law and yet the first of July we got a rule that said there would be a delay of the employer mandate and that there would be a delay in the income verifications … I just find that really interesting that 15 times in our committee [we’re told] that we're not going to have a delay and now, Mr. Werfel, you claim that you're “making efforts” to verify the employer sponsored coverage … And Mr. Cohen, you now tell us that tomorrow we'll receive a new rule on the income verification. We're 60 days out. I don't think you all are ready. I really don’t believe you’re ready by what you’re telling us here, that you’re “making efforts.” This is three years worth of work and we were told by the Secretary there would be no more delay. So I think that you can't have it one way and then something else come up.
Congressman Black: I want to go to the whole “claw back” because, Mr. Cohen, you mentioned the IRS is supposedly going to be clawing back any fraudulent payments when people file their tax returns and somehow the administration thinks this is going to deter fraud …Mr. Werfel, this question is for you. Can you please explain to the committee to what degree the IRS has been able to recover fraudulent payments that have been made through similar advanced tax credits in the earned income tax program and also the educational tax credit?
Commissioner Werfel: A couple of things in terms of the claw back to clarify because there's a difference between the earned income tax credit and here and again, I made the point earlier, the taxpayer doesn't actually receive funds. the funds go to the insurer.
Congressman Black: I understand that but that's still money that goes out the door. Those are federal dollars that the hard working taxpayer is paying and I know my time is going to run out here, but $11 billion was fraudulently doled out [according to] the Inspector General's report in the earned income tax credit… and $3 billion in the education tax credit.
Commissioner Wefel: So I know we're running out of time. Let me commit to work with your staff, if you'll allow, to explain the procedures that we have in place to get money returned to the IRS and returned on the income tax credit and working with the ACA.
Congressman Black: Will you please do that? Because this is absurd -- we're 60 days out from full implementation… it's time this administration admits it's not ready and we need to delay this train wreck.
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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.