Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., has introduced legislation that would block the federal government from doling out subsidies through President Obama’s health care law until the law’s anti-fraud measures are fully implemented.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services, under pressure to get health insurance exchanges up and running by Oct. 1, announced that it would delay verification requirements for individuals applying for health insurance subsidies to purchase insurance. Under the new scheme, states can increasingly rely on individuals’ own claims about their income and health insurance status before handing out hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.
At the time, I wrote that, “If Republicans were smart, they’d draft a bill based on the following mantra: ‘No Subsidization Without Verification.’ That is, they should take a stand that nobody can receive subsidies through Obamacare before the government has a system in place that can independently verify the information as accurate.”
Well, it seems there’s at least one smart Republican. Black has just unveiled the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, or H.R. 2775, which does just what I suggested.
“By not verifying eligibility for Obamacare, the administration will ensure that the government hands out billions of dollars in fraudulent payments – racking up more debt for current and future generations,” Black said in a statement. “It is simply indefensible for the administration to misuse its power and authority under the executive branch to encourage fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars in a pathetic attempt to boost enrollment in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges.”
As I argued previously, Republicans should consider tying this to the fall budget battle. Adopting this measure would effectively stop Obamacare in its tracks, because HHS has already explained that, “the service described in the proposed rule is not feasible for implementation for the first year of operations.” And if Democrats refuse to accept this idea — most likely — let them squirm to explain to the American people why they’re willing to shut down the government to prevent the implementation of anti-fraud measures they once deemed necessary to make sure hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies are getting to the right people.