OPINION: Wall Street Journal Editorial: Stopping Obamacare Fraud

September 11, 2013

Among the many concerns surrounding the president’s health care law is the threat of fraudulent and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. On Friday, July 5th, as Americans were celebrating our nation’s independence, 600 pages of Obamacare regulations were quietly released. Buried within those pages was an announcement that the government would no longer verify that each applicant for the exchange subsidies was actually qualified for that assistance. Instead, the administration would rely on self-attestation and sample audits to “protect” the integrity of this new $1 trillion entitlement program. Today, the House of Representatives will begin debate to protect taxpayers from potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent spending. H.R. 2775, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, demands that accurate verification systems be put in place before subsidies are dispersed. As The Wall Street Journal explains, “Republicans are asking that a vast new entitlement be held to the most basic due diligence, or be prudently delayed until it can.”

September 11, 2013

EDITORIAL: Stopping Obamacare Fraud

Will Democrats vote to verify who is eligible for subsidies?

Every politician claims to hate fraud in government, and the House of Representatives will have a chance to prove it Wednesday when it votes to close a gigantic hole for potential abuse in the Affordable Care Act.

The Health and Human Services Department announced in July that it won't verify individual eligibility for the tens of billions in insurance subsidies the law will dole out. Americans are supposed to receive those subsidies based on income and only if their employer doesn't provide federally approved health benefits. But until 2015 the rule will be: Come on in, the subsidy is fine.

HHS will let applicants "self attest" that they are legally eligible. No further questions asked. The new ObamaCare exchanges will also be taking applicants' word on their projected household income. It seems that what it calls "operational barriers" continue to prevent HHS from checking applications against IRS income data.

The Administration argues that the fear of later HHS audits will keep applicants honest, though the threat of such checks has hardly prevented other fraud. The Treasury Inspector General estimates that 21% to 25% of Earned Income Tax Credits go to people who aren't eligible. An equivalent rate of fraud in ObamaCare could mean $250 billion in bad payments in a decade. And does HHS really plan to claw back overpayments from individual exchange participants? …

Republicans are asking that a vast new entitlement be held to the most basic due diligence, or be prudently delayed until it can. …

Read the complete editorial online here

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