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House debates exchange verification bill

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Now the House is going after health care subsidies.

The latest House debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came in the form of a bill raising questions about income verification in the exchanges.

H.R. 2775, the “No Subsidies Without Verification Act” bill, introduced by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., would require the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to certify that an income verification system was in place before PPACA could award premium tax credits.

The HHS secretary also would have to confirm the exchanges were verifying applicants’ coverage requirements.

Additionally, the exchanges would have to use the system before they could award “cost-sharing reductions.”

The PPACA cost-sharing reduction program is supposed to cut the amount low-income exchange users spend on deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance amounts.

Members of the House voted 228-195 today for a resolution that sets the rules for debating the income verification bill. All 227 Republicans who voted supported the resolution, and all 196 Democrats who voted opposed it.

Obama administration officials have argued that extra income verification requirements aren’t needed because the exchanges already will have access to Internal Revenue Service tax return and Equifax credit bureau data to verify applicant income.

For what it’s worth, analysts wrote in a Congressional Budget Office report that the bill would not cost anything or impose any unwieldy regulations .

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