Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Rep. Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-La.) File Legislation to Reduce Fraud in Government Assistance Programs
Mar 04 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Income Verification Act to reduce fraud in taxpayer-funded government assistance programs by requiring states to use federal tax information to verify income eligibility for these programs. U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-La.) introduced a version of the same bill in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
The Income Verification Act applies to Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
In November, a report by Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office revealed that 82 of 100 Medicaid recipients in a random sample did not financially qualify for the program. The Legislative Auditor’s Office estimated that the state wasted as much as $85 million on ineligible Medicaid recipients.
“Taxpayer money should never be spent willy-nilly,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We owe it to hardworking Americans to be responsible with their taxes instead of using the funds as giveaways to people who don’t financially qualify for assistance. Right now, income verification for taxpayer-funded government assistance programs is optional. This legislation will make it a requirement. Unfortunately, Louisiana is a prime example of how badly we need this legislation. That’s why I introduced this legislation to require every state to use federal income tax data to determine eligibility for Medicaid programs, welfare and food stamps.”
“Assistance fraud robs resources from people who are truly in need and insults the generosity of taxpayers who by and large want to help those down on their luck,” said Rep. Abraham. “Sadly, Louisiana has shown the nation exactly how to fail at administering at least one such program, Medicaid, by wasting at least $85 million - maybe more - on fraudulent payments, only checking eligibility years after the benefits were paid. Sen. Kennedy and I are working to fix such failures in the future by requiring that states verify eligibility for all assistance programs on the front end. This is common sense, but since that’s lacking within the government, we’re going to pass a law to require it.”