A Senate panel announced an investigation Thursday into ObamaCare insurance subsidies, which Republicans claim have been improperly paid out without verification.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on investigations, is demanding proof the Obama administration has been thoroughly checking a person’s income level and legal status before handing out subsidies.
“The Administration assured Congress that the eligibility verification process for the exchanges was working, but millions of Americans are now learning that they received overpayments that they have to repay,” he wrote in a statement.
He cited reports from H&R Block, which found that repayments have eaten into the average taxpayer’s refund by roughly one-third. The administration has yet to release official figures from tax season, which ended April 15.
In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services dated Wednesday, Portman demanded a copy of all documents related to federal and state verification processes. He also sent two pages of questions, which he said officials have previously ignored.
“Congress and the public must have confidence in the exchanges’ verification systems,” Portman wrote in the letter. He said the department’s lack of response so far, as well as recent media reports and audits of those systems, have “undermined that confidence.”
Nearly all people who received tax credits will either owe or receive money because of a change in income or family status after they calculated their ObamaCare subsidies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. About half of all affected households will likely owe money to the federal government.