Portman Calls for IG Investigation Into Mistaken Obamacare Subsidies

image001(3)Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) called on the Office of the Inspector General (IG) to launch an investigation into alleged Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidy overpayments. The goal of the investigation is to ensure the billions in taxpayer dollars paid out as subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are only going to recipients who qualify.

At the beginning of the year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told Congress that systems were in place to verify enrollees’ incomes, but HHS recently acknowledged that healthcare.gov is still not fully capable of verifying enrollees’ income, and is therefore not accurately determining their eligibility for subsidies. According to some reports, potentially hundreds of thousands of Americans have received larger subsidies than they qualify for, in large part because they reported inaccurate incomes when they signed up for health care coverage.

Portman announced his letter to the IG on the Senate floor today.

These are some excerpts from his letter.

“…If it’s true that HHS has failed to implement a modern, effective system by verifying the information of folks seeking subsidies, we didn’t know that. They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Well, I think that’s the case here.

“The best way to ensure that these tax dollars aren’t wasted is to get the information, let us know what’s going on.

“I hope the Obama Administration, and after her confirmation because I think she will be confirmed, that Secretary Burwell, will show her commitment to responsible government by joining me in calling for this investigation and responding quickly and accurately to whatever shortcomings it uncovers.

“But if the Administration does not, then it will fall on those of us in the chamber, on both sides of the aisle, to take action. I sincerely hope it won’t come to that. I plan to support Director Burwell’s nomination today because I think she’s a manager and I think that’s what we need right now at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“And I’d say this ought to be one of her top priorities as a new manager at HHS- to ensure the number of problems we’ve seen with the implementation of Obamacare don’t continue and specifically, to ensure we’re not seeing huge amounts of taxpayer dollars being misspent, being wasted, through inaccurate verification of these subsidies…”