Tennessee Republican Rep. Diane Black said the Obama administration’s decision to delay the verification process for income eligibility under the healthcare law could cost taxpayers billions of dollars in fraud.
“They continue to say in that meeting today that everything’s on track, you know, it’s all ready to go, everything’s on track. If it is, why are we delaying the verification for another year?” said Black in an interview with PJ Media on Capitol Hill.
“If you can’t verify the various criteria that’s been set up by the law, how can you enact the law? So no, I don’t have a lot of confidence in much of anything that they say.”
The Washington Post has reported that the federal government “will rely more heavily on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, “the result starting in October may be millions of people getting subsidies who don’t legally qualify” which would “mean huge increases in ObamaCare spending.”
They point out that currently, “21% to 25% of Earned Income Tax Credits flow to people who aren’t eligible, according to the Treasury inspector general. The same error rate for ObamaCare would amount to as much as $250 billion in improper payments in its first decade.”
Danny Werfel, acting commissioner at the Internal Revenue Service, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer and deputy director of the Office of Information Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, testified before the Oversight Committee on Wednesday about information-sharing under the healthcare law.
Black still has concerns about the decision to delay verification after attending the hearing.
“Essentially, what he [Henry Chao] is saying is they would get approved and they’ll go back and try to do some verification after the fact. Well, if that’s what you’re going to do, there’s going to be a whole lot of fraud out there,” Black told PJ Media.
“Does that bring the cost of healthcare down?” she asked.
In addition, Black told PJ Media that the health law’s “data hub” raises privacy concerns for Americans.
“For the purposes of implementing and enforcing Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services through regulatory fiat is building this Hub, a web portal where personal information such as medical records, tax and financial information, criminal background and immigration status will be shared and transmitted between agencies, including the IRS, HHS, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration as well as state governments,” she wrote in a USA Today op-ed.
“With so much personal information going in and out of the Hub likely privy to both government employees and contractors, many of whom will have discretion over healthcare coverage and tax penalties, the potential for abuses is staggering.”
After a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing with HHS officials on the health law, Black said, “I’m not confident at this point in time that I can say to my constituency, ‘oh, don’t worry. The information that’s being collected is going to be secure.’”
Black also said it is “almost laughable” that the White House has vowed to veto the House-passed legislation that would delay the employer mandate in Obamacare that requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to buy health insurance for every worker.
The Obama administration recently announced the rule would be delayed until 2015.
“It’s really almost laughable, which I’m doing obviously, that the administration breaks the law, says what they want to do and we try to make it law and then he [Obama] says we don’t want you to make it law even though he’s broken the law,” she said.
“I can’t even think that way. That is so convoluted, I can’t even think that way.”