Bill targets ObamaCare ‘honor system’

Legislation introduced this week in the House would prohibit the distribution of federal subsidies to ObamaCare exchanges until a system is in place to counter fraud. 

The bill, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), comes in response hundreds of pages of new regulations setting forth, among other provisions, verification rules for those applying for insurance under the law.

“Buried in more than 600 pages of this new regulation was a controversial decision to delay verification of eligibility for ObamaCare subsidies, and instead use the honor system," Black said Thursday during a speech on the House floor.

ADVERTISEMENT
Black chided the administration for issuing the regulations on July 5, when many Americans were celebrating a long holiday weekend.

In particular, Black took exception to an allowance for the health insurance exchanges to accept an applicant’s word when it comes to questions about income.

“For income verification, for the first year of operations, we are providing Exchanges with temporarily expanded discretion to accept an attestation of projected annual household income,” a section of the rule says.

The regulation sets out a process through which exchanges would review and verify eligibility through samples of applicants.

But Black said the move would inevitably lead to widespread fraud.

“In a desperate attempt to try to save the president’s failing health care law, the administration is willing to give out billions of dollars in fraudulent payments,” she said.

Black’s bill would not allow any federal subsidies for the program before such time as the secretary of Health and Human Services certifies to Congress that measures are in place to verify the household income and other coverage requirements for anyone applying for subsidized healthcare.

In the meantime, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which drafted the rule, reserved the right to make further changes to the verification rules.

“We plan to continue working closely with Exchanges, and may propose regulatory amendments as necessary, to implement an increasingly effective verification process over time,” the rule states.

More in Healthcare

Senate panel OKs bill to exclude vets from ObamaCare mandate

Read more »