House Republicans Pass Bill Delaying ObamaCare Subsidies

By:  Raven Clabough
House Republicans Pass Bill Delaying ObamaCare Subsidies

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to ban new subsidies to help people purchase health insurance until the administration enacts a new verification system to ensure that benefits are offered only to those who qualify. 

The No Subsidies Without Verification Act has no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The 235 to 191 vote is the 41st by House Republicans targeting the healthcare law.

Five Democrats — Reps. John Barrow of Georgia, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — joined Republicans in the vote.

The healthcare law asks applicants to estimate their family income for 2014. Republicans assert that there is not enough protection against fraud and that the regulations issued over the summer fail to adequately verify income, verification used to prove people are eligible for the subsidies. Without a proper system in place, ineligible people could be receiving tax credits at the expense of the taxpayers.

"This bill would protect American taxpayers from the staggering amount of fraud and abuse in Obamacare exchanges," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), the main sponsor of the bill.

As it stands, income estimates will be compared to tax and Social Security records. Any significant discrepancies will require additional checks involving information obtained from a credit rating agency. According to the administration, taxpayers receiving more subsidies than they were eligible for will be required to have to repay part or all of them when they file their income tax returns the following year.

But the Republican-led effort wants to nip any fraud before it happens. “You can’t go into a store, restaurant or gasoline station and pay on the honor system,” Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady said. “But the Obama administration has botched the law.… Taxpayer dollars will go out the door as individuals pinky-swear their income is accurate.”

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