This week Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee. As a member of this committee I had many questions for her. In particular, I questioned the consequences of whether health care plans participating in the Affordable Care Act are subject to key anti-fraud protections.
Secretary Sebelius stated in a letter to a House member that qualified health plans, programs related to the federally facilitated marketplace, and other programs under the Affordable Care Act are not considered federal health care programs. I questioned whether this means Obamacare programs are not subject to federal anti-kickback statutes and the federal False Claims Act.
Secretary Sebelius argued that the federal exchanges offer plans from private insurers that should not be subject to anti-fraud protections. This alarms me. Billions of dollars in subsidies for individuals going to health insurers to join Obamacare are federal tax dollars. Those dollars should be subject to anti-fraud laws. Medicare Advantage also offers plans from private insurers and is subject to those same anti-fraud provisions. I question why the two programs should be treated differently for federal anti-fraud protections. Both involve direct payments from the government to private health care plans.
I intend to do everything I can to get to the bottom of whether the federal agency in charge of Obamacare will apply every available anti-fraud protection to this program.