Chairman Upton Voices Support To Protect Taxpayer Dollars

September 12, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) voiced his support for H.R. 2775, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act:

H.R. 2775, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, is an important step in reducing government waste, fraud, and abuse while protecting taxpayers from another costly burden of the health care law. 

On Friday, July 5th, as Americans were still celebrating our nation’s independence, the Department of Health and Human Services quietly released more than 600 pages of new heath law regulations. Buried on page 350 was a bombshell announcement that the government would no longer verify that each applicant for exchange subsidies actually qualified for federal assistance. Instead, because the administration was woefully behind schedule and ill prepared despite the law being signed over three years ago, officials decided to rely on self-attestation and sample audits. This lack of oversight for a $1 trillion entitlement program is beyond belief.

This drastic policy change creates significant problems. Those who self-attest will continue to receive subsidies during audits that could take up to one year. Not verifying applicants’ eligibility could result in potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent payments funded by the American taxpayers. As of today, no official changes have been made to the rule and no information regarding the timeframe to verify eligibility has been provided to Congress. 

This legislation would prohibit the government from offering subsidies until a system is put in place to verify people’s eligibility and requires the HHS Inspector General to confirm subsidies are only issued to those Americans who qualify for them. H.R. 2775 also prevents the ‘pay and chase’ of fraudulent claims that plagues the health care system.

This is a bipartisan issue we cannot ignore.  Our Senate colleagues are also working to address this problem and passed a similar measure through the Senate Appropriations Committee by unanimous consent.

Federal agencies continue to lose billions of dollars a year to waste, fraud, and abuse. Enough is enough.  Taxpayers should not have to pay the price for the administration’s failure to get its work done on time. This is the right policy and it makes sense. I thank Diane Black and Renee Ellmers for their leadership.

 

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