House Republicans passed the "No Subsidies Without Verification Act" today, which would bar any of Obamacare's subsidies from being distributed until a fully-functional eligibility verification system is in place. Phil Klein must be pleased. The legislation would head-off the widespread fraud and other abuses expected to result from the administration's eleventh-hour weakening of required standards. Under the new rules, individuals and families can receive generous taxpayer-funded benefits without proving that they qualify for them. This "honor system" approach is outrageous, especially considering how much waste and abuse occurs within programs like Medicare and Medicaid -- which actually have operational verification standards. The Wall Street Journal appropriately dubbed the administration's about-face an invitation to "liar subsidies." This desperate delay was rushed through because states and insurers aren't even close to having operational exchanges that fulfill all the obligations set forth in the law. By passing this item, the House is protecting taxpayers:
The House has passed legislation aimed at preventing people from receiving health insurance subsidies under ObamaCare until a better system is put in place to verify who is eligible for those subsidies. Members passed the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, H.R. 2775, in a 235-191 vote that saw support from five Democrats. But like dozens of other bills from the House meant to tweak or repeal ObamaCare, this one also seems likely to go nowhere in the Senate. The White House has said the bill is unnecessary, and President Obama would veto it if it were presented for his signature.
Of course they did. They don't mind fraud. The goal is to get as many people signed up and hooked on government benefits as possible. They also want to mitigate the massive political embarrassment of Obamacare's liftoff crashing on the launchpad. "Liar subsidies" are hardly the only fraud-related concern surrounding the law; experts warn of computer glitches, vulnerable personal data "hubs," and under-vetted Obamacare "navigators," who will have access to citizens' sensitive financial and health information. As public support for the "Affordable" Care Act continues to wane, Republicans should exploit other unpopular provisions and administration actions to apply pressure to Democrats (particularly in the Senate). Low-hanging fruit includes forcing votes on: (1) Delaying the hated individual mandate tax -- to give families and small businesses the same break big corporations received with the employer mandate postponement -- (2) Undoing the extremely unpopular Congressional exemption the president orchestrated to shield Congress from its own law, and (3) teaming up with Howard Dean to repeal Obamacare's unaccountable "IPAB" rationing board. Several of these efforts have already passed the House, with some Democrats defecting and voting with the GOP. Moving forward, I've made my position on threatening government 'shutdown' in a quixotic bid to defund Obamacare pretty clear. Some of this polling data bolsters my case, and here's Jim Pethokoukis adding a few more points on the subject. I'll leave you with Jay Carney laying down, shall we say, a red line on the upcoming budget fights:
Carney line in sand on budget: "We will not accept anything that delays or de-funds Obamacare"— Ed Henry (@edhenryTV) September 12, 2013
Delaying Obamacare is unacceptable! Except when we do it -- five times, all on our own. Then it's totally fine, of course. And legal. Because Obama says so.
UPDATE - It looks like Mitch McConnell's going to play ball in the Senate. Will supposedly 'anti-obstructionism' Democrats allow votes on these widely-supported proposals?