Committee Leaders Call for Answers on Verification Process for Exchanges from HHS Secretary Sebelius
WASHINGTON, DC – Expanding its investigation into the implementation of Obamacare, House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders and members of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee today wrote to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the administration’s recent decision to abandon a verification process for exchanges. The leaders are concerned with the Obama administration’s disregard for the health law’s requirement to verify income and health insurance status of individuals applying for federal subsidies to support enrollment under the law’s health insurance exchanges, opting instead for an ‘honor system.’ The significant change in policy was noted on page 350 of a 606-page regulation published on Friday, July 5, 2013, and leaves taxpayers subject to potential fraudulent spending.
The committee’s action comes on the heels of letters sent last week to Secretary Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew following the administration’s abrupt decision to delay requirements of the law’s employer mandate for one year. Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) has scheduled a hearing for July 18, 2013, on the recent administrative delays regarding the law’s implementation.
Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Chairman Murphy commented, “The administration had three years to implement this law and instead they single-handedly rewrote central components of it in three days. Administration officials looked us in the eye and testified that implementation was on track, only to bury two major policy shifts as the nation celebrated July 4th. Many questions must be answered, from the cost to the added confusion.”
In the letter to the administration, the committee leaders write, “Both the HHS final rule and the Treasury announcement raise troubling questions about the status of the administration’s efforts to implement the PPACA and to what extent the exchanges will be operational by the time enrollment begins on October 1, 2013. The administration has had three years to implement the PPACA, yet in the span of just three days, two agencies have used administrative actions to significantly change fundamental requirements of the law.”
Setting a July 17, 2013, deadline, the committee leaders are seeking documents and information “to understand the status of PPACA implementation, and how eligibility for exchanges will be verified.”
A signed copy of the letter can be found here.
Read the committee’s July 3, 2013, letters to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the delay of the employer mandate here.
Details on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee July 18, 2013, hearing here.