Support "Phase III" Legislation

June 13, 2017

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Representative,

You will soon consider three healthcare bills this week that will bring more patient-centered reform to the current healthcare system under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, and complement the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  The bills are H.R. 2581, the Verify First Act; H.R. 2372, the Veterans Equal Treatment Ensures Relief and Access Now (VETERAN) Act; and H.R. 2579, the Broader Options for Americans Act.  On behalf of the more than 1.2 million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I ask that you support these bills.

H.R. 2581, the Verify First Act, would amend the Internal Revenue Code to prevent advance payments of premium assistance to individuals unless their citizenship has been verified.  Since 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has conducted yearly undercover testing and found that the marketplaces’ eligibility determination and enrollment processes remain vulnerable to fraud.  This legislation will tighten up the requirements to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse with current ACA subsidies or the monthly tax credits that are found in AHCA.

H.R. 2372, the VETERAN Act, will codify an IRS regulation that allows veterans to receive financial support via an ACA exchange to purchase private insurance in the individual market, even though they are eligible but have chosen not to receive care in the VA insurance program.  Some veterans may find that private insurance is a better option for them, and this bill will provide the financial security they need by continuing to receive their monthly ACA premium subsidies or their AHCA tax credits when the law is implemented.

H.R. 2579, the Broader Options for Americans Act, will assist people who have lost their jobs to pay for their health insurance premiums.  One of the provisions in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) allowed individuals who became unemployed to continue to receive health insurance coverage under their employer’s plan.  However, the premium cost is entirely borne by the taxpayer.  This bill would allow individuals to use AHCA monthly tax credits to help pay for their COBRA coverage.

These bills are important “Phase III” initiatives in the step-by-step approach to repeal and replace Obamacare, and I ask that you support them.  All votes on these bills will be among those considered for CCAGW’s 2017 Congressional Ratings.


Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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