Passed in the House: Bill Protects Health Care Tax Credits from Waste, Fraud, Abuse

June 13, 2017 — Press Releases   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House voted to pass the Verify First Act, sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). The legislation protects taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse by verifying a person’s eligibility before they can receive financial support to purchase insurance – either through Obamacare’s subsidies or with the American Health Care Act’s monthly tax credits, when they take effect.

In a speech on the House floor, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) praised Rep. Barletta for his work to protect taxpayer dollars and improve health care:

“I want to thank Congressman Barletta for his leadership on this important legislation. The Verify First Act is a much-needed solution to safeguard taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse both now and into the future. That’s crucial as we continue our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. And it’s vital to improving America’s health care system for the long term.”

Below are Chairman Brady’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you Mr. Speaker. I yield myself as much time as I may consume. 

“Last month, House Republicans took a significant step to return patient-centered health care to the American people. We passed the American Health Care Act.  

“The AHCA begins our step-by-step process to repeal Obamacare and replace the collapsing law with a 21st century health care system that truly works for American families, job creators, states, and taxpayers. 

“Now, as work on the AHCA moves forward in the Senate, we are moving forward on a parallel track to deliver more solutions for the American people. One of those is the Verify First Act, sponsored by Congressman Lou Barletta. 

“This legislation takes important action to protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse. It prevents the AHCA’s monthly tax credits and Obamacare’s current subsidies from being dispensed until the legal status of an eligible recipient can be verified. 

“Under Obamacare, people who are in the United States illegally are prohibited from receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies to help purchase health insurance. But, like so many aspects of Obamacare, there’s a major defect.  

“Obamacare starts by assuming a person is a legal resident and sends the money right away – even if the verification process is still incomplete.

“As we’ve seen with so many federal programs, it’s all but impossible to get fraudulently-claimed money back after it’s already out the door. This flaw of Obamacare is no different. It has resulted in taxpayer-funded subsidies being spent on people who were not in the United States legally and, therefore, not eligible to receive them. 

“My constituents in Texas work too hard to see their tax dollars wasted by Washington’s carelessness. 

“The best solution to protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse is to stop it before it occurs – and that’s what the Verify First Act will do. 

“The bill strengthens existing verification tools by making a commonsense change. Rather than sending the money first and confirming legal status later, it verifies legal status up front.  

“So, if you want to receive financial support for health insurance, the bill simply requires that you first provide a Social Security Number or another form of acceptable information to validate citizenship or immigration status.  

“This commonsense change will apply to Obamacare beginning with next year’s open enrollment period. And, after Obamacare is repealed, it will apply to the tax credits offered in the AHCA when they take effect. This helps ensure that taxpayer-funded assistance for the purchase of health insurance is only distributed to people who are eligible – not to those who are in our country illegally. 

“I want to thank Congressman Barletta for his leadership on this important legislation. The Verify First Act is a much-needed solution to safeguard taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse both now and into the future. That’s crucial as we continue our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. And it’s vital to improving America’s health care system for the long term.  

“I urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting the passage of the Verify First Act.”

SUBCOMMITTEE: Health