Republicans tackle Obamacare as the clock ticks down
September 14th, 2013
07:47 AM ET
10 months ago

Republicans tackle Obamacare as the clock ticks down

(CNN) - With less than a month before open enrollment begins for Obamacare, Republicans again went after the president's signature health care law in their weekly address on Saturday.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, highlighted her bill, "No Subsidies Without Verification Act," which was passed by the House this week, -one of dozens of attempts by the GOP-controlled House to chisel away at the health care law.

The bill, however, has little chance of going anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

"This legislation stops the government from issuing health care subsidies until it has a system in place to prevent fraud. It's that simple," said Black, a registered nurse for 40 years.

What is she referring to?

Obamacare subsidies are essentially tax credits that help free up money for individuals to purchase health insurance. The lower a person's salary, the higher their subsidy will be.

Opponents of the health care law are frustrated by a rule change announced by the administration this summer. The new rule says that state insurance exchanges can relax how they verify the income of people who apply for the subsidies.

As CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi explains it, exchanges must still check the applicant's income against a federal database, which will include information from his or her federal tax returns and a record of Social Security benefits.

The exchanges will be looking for disparities between what the applicant says and what's in the database.

If it looks like someone is understating his or her income by more than 10%, and the exchange doesn't have other sources to quickly check against, the exchange may choose to rely on what the applicant says.

To prevent fraud, the IRS will check the person's actual income when he or she files their tax return that next April. Anyone who might get a bigger subsidy than they're eligible for will have to pay back the difference to the IRS.

But Black argued the Obama administration is relying on "the honor system" rather than a true verification system.

"You heard that right: instead of exercising common sense and accountability, the administration is willing to just give away your tax dollars – no questions asked," she said.

Read her full comments below:

Hi, I'm Diane Black, and I represent Tennessee's Sixth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. What an honor it is to be speaking with you.

Protecting taxpayer dollars is one of Washington's most important responsibilities. Your money should be spent wisely or not at all. And everything we do to stop waste and fix broken government removes obstacles to creating jobs and building a stronger economy.

This week, the House took on a hot spot for fraud and abuse in the president's health care law by passing a bill I authored called the No Subsidies Without Verification Act. This legislation stops the government from issuing health care subsidies until it has a system in place to prevent fraud. It's that simple.

Now, you'd be right to ask, why isn't this the case already? Well, in an attempt to prop up its struggling health care law, the Obama administration decided they'd hand out subsidies without verifying who's eligible. They just want to rely on the honor system. You heard that right: instead of exercising common sense and accountability, the administration is willing to just give away your tax dollars – no questions asked.

Not only is that unfair to hardworking taxpayers like you, it opens the door a mile wide to fraud and abuse. According to one independent estimate, some $250 billion in bad payments could be doled out over the next decade.

This is nonsense. And members of both parties agree. Democrats on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee have also come out for requiring verification. Now we need the full Democratic-led Senate to act.

This is just the latest in a string of bipartisan efforts to repeal and protect Americans from the president's health care law. The House has also acted in bipartisan fashion to give individuals and families the same delay from the law's mandates that big businesses have received. The president himself has signed seven bills that dismantle parts of the law.

It's important work, and like many of you, this issue affects me personally. I've been a registered nurse for more than 40 years now, and I can tell you the things patients and their families count on – their doctors, their plans, the cost of their care – all of this comes under siege in the president's health care law. It won't just fail to keep its promises; it will make things much worse. You don't have to take my word for it: every day we're seeing new reports of higher costs, less access, and fewer jobs.

Together, we can stop this 'train wreck' and put the focus back on patient-centered solutions. Together, we can build a stronger economy that rewards hard work and people who do the right thing.

Again, it has been my honor to address you on behalf of my colleagues. Thank you for listening.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Republicans
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Sandy C

    STOP waisting time w/ the posturing garbage! Instead, propose an alternative law that's better! I don't remember the GOP ever doing that??

    September 14, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  2. ghost

    It,the ACA, is the LAW. GET OVER IT. Puts some JOBS bills out of the House if you ary trying to do something for America and the American people. Otherwise, SHUT-UP!!! CLINTON 2016

    September 14, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. JT

    Hey, she does have a huge point. I've worked for the government for 14 years now, and nearly everyone will try to take advantage of it. Selling children's SSN for tax credits, abusing the Food Shelves (i.e. going to 5-6 different ones instead of buying any groceries) and Food Stamp EBT (claiming nieces/nephews) , getting lower paying jobs at McD's, etc to pay lower child support. That isnt even the whole list. Honor system, my rump.

    September 14, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Could you please stop this unneeded epithet of Healthcare law, since is the Law. Please do not be fool of yourself. It is THE LAW, NOW. Let us go with it covering all. I think we need to nationalize Hospitals.

    September 14, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Anthony

    Republicans know that once the program starts, and people find out there is no government takeover of health care, because they still buy insurance from the insurance companies, they will know that Republicans have been lying to them from the start. Obamacare provides subsidies to help people buy private insurance. Republicans want to stop that. Once the truth comes out, they are finished.

    September 14, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  6. reacharound

    To quote Rep Black "This is nonsense. And members of both parties agree". Yeah, it's out of context, but you know...

    September 14, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. Dean

    Just another way for Obama to redistribute the wealth and ensure that his progressive party continues to get votes.

    September 14, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. wendel

    republicans need to stop the nonsense and tackle something like the jobs issue. These clowns can't work with their own party let alone the president.

    September 14, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. Liz the First

    How many times have these nutburgers voted on a JOBS BILL????? answer, NONE! throw these obsessive bums out come '14 and let's get some actual legislators in who want to help the country, not just destroy a president!

    September 14, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. Lizzie

    Should not every Senator and Representative including the President and his family be the FIRST to sign up for Obamacare if it's that great and NOT exempt themself from it. Something is wrong, very wrong.

    September 14, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Gunderson

    What to do, what to do. No doubt fraud will be rampant any way you turn. Refuse to fund Obama Care and maybe government shut down or hand people enough rope to hang themselves. Union's already screaming Obama Care killing jobs. There is never enough time to do something right the first time but there is always time to do it over. Old Gunderson say hand people the rope. With no job they will have plenty of time to hang self.

    September 14, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Evergreen

    Relying on income tax records has always been a standard for verification of income. More tax dollars going to the middle class and working poor for healthcare means less tax dollars for corporate welfare and the MIC.

    September 14, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. emskadittle

    So if you know that the IRS will check in April, isn't that deterrent enough?

    September 14, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. emskadittle

    The Republicans have no problems with the government probing into peoples lives as long as they are poor

    September 14, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. HenryMiller

    Ms Black doesn't get it—the objective is to hook as many people as possible as fast as possible on yet another welfare scheme, law and common sense be damned.

    September 14, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Tony in Maine

    It borders on full scale hysteria at this point. They know it's good and that once people see that it helps them, they won't want it tossed down one of the Koch's abandoned coal mines.

    September 14, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. G

    maybe republicans should look up talking in the russian dictionary, because they don,t know what it means in english

    September 14, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Just – a few posts back I think you were expressing concern about navigators signing up people and acquiring information. The NRA has a data base of every member, everyone who bought guns or ammo, everyone who attended a gun show, etc. One might ask, for what purpose?

    September 14, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. jpmichigan

    Yes! I have to agree, the AHC is the law and deemed a tax by the Supreme Court, so tell me how does Obama and his motely crew have the right to change parts of the LAW with waivers, that certain groups do not have to abide by the laws, without changing it through Congress? The most important group are those who DIDNOT read the bill, but PASSED it are exempted from the LAW. Isn't that against the LAW!!!!!

    September 14, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Up – that is a Fox talking point and not true.

    September 14, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. reacharound

    @Lizzie – Obamacare is for the needy. That does not include Sen/Reps or the Obamas.

    September 14, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    My husband and I can't wait for Oct. 1 to get out from underneath the unaffordable thumb of our blue cross ins. $800 a month with a $20,000 deductible and No prescription drug coverage until we have spent $20,000 a year. What a rip off!
    My husband had cancer 5 years ago and no one would cover him after that. Come Oct. 1 we can CHOOSE a coverage!

    September 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Ron -IN

    The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and while it is flawed it has important protections the will eventually reduce some healthcare costs. The biggest problem with this is NO HEALTHCARE plan is going to correct the largest obstacle which is what we are charged for services!! Before this law was passed the healthcare insurance industry was raising premiums 15 to 20% per year!!! It was simply obscene and already we have seen that go down in the last two years. I believe the problem Republicans REALLY HAVE with this is they don't care if the it helps people or not, they just HATE having the government do anything other than defend the country. It is a backwards philosophy that leaves the less fortunate unprotected and makes it more difficult for them to better themselves.

    September 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee
    Her net worth is almost $29 million because of her husband's stake in Aegis Sciences Corporation, a "...forensic chemical and drug-testing laboratory specializing in the Zero-Tolerance Drug Testing® testing programs for businesses, professional and amateur sports drug testing, pain management physicians, and medical examiners".

    In May 2009, Sherri Goforth, a legislative aide in Black's office, circulated a racially charged email depicting a collection of portraits of United States Presidents showing current President Barack Obama as a black frame with only eyeballs visible. The email was denounced as blatant racism.

    She is a lobbyist not a Politician. Tennessee is rated as 39th in health care in the USA. Women’s life expectancy declined from 1987 to 2007 in 36 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Tennessee women also have the nation’s highest stroke death rate, and the third-highest breast cancer death rate.

    September 14, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Mr Dalloway

    Keep beating that dead horse republicans

    September 14, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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