Blackburn, Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders Expand Investigation into Status of Obamacare Implementation

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Washington, Jul 9, 2013 | Mike Reynard (202-225-1112) | comments
Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee todayexpanded their investigation into the implementation of Obamacare. Blackburn joined members of the committee in writing toHealth and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to inquire about the Obama administration’s recent decision to abandon a verification process for exchanges.

Blackburn and committee 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.

“Tennesseans know that one of the lessons learned from the early days of Tenncare is that you can’t disregard the verification of eligibility for a government mandated healthcare program. Incentivized use nearly bankrupted our state,” Blackburn said. “The Obamacare healthcare law is not workable and the recent waivers on the Employer Mandate and the Eligibility Requirements show that the administration realizes they have a 'train wreck' on their hands. My constituents overwhelming oppose this law and I work each and every day to stop the harmful effects it’s having on American families and businesses.”

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.

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.

Congressman Blackburn serves as Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee and sits on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

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