This week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma requesting more information on the Federal Services Data Hub, and how it can be used to further reduce inefficiencies and improper payments in the Medicaid program and throughout the federal government.
The letter is as follows:
Thank you for your efforts to ensure greater transparency and accountability within the federal government. Eliminating duplication, overlap, and improper payments should be a top priority of the federal government to make sure taxpayer dollars are not wasted. As part of that effort, we should always be willing to examine current methods to see if existing programs can be adopted to reduce improper payments.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the Federal Services Data Hub to help determine eligibly for applicants on the federal marketplace and state-based marketplace. It is the foundation for federal agencies and some private databases to share information and determine the accuracy of applications for coverage. An applicant’s records are checked against various databases, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security and others to verify the information attested on the application with the various databases and ensure accuracy.
The Federal Services Data Hub provides significant information and is an important tool to reduce duplication, overlap, and improper payments. This is important because federal programs such as Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) have a history of improper payments. In 2018, Health and Human Services Inspector General found that an estimated $628.8 million in federal funds were improperly made in California’s Medicaid program for ineligible beneficiaries because California eligibility determination systems lacked proper functionality. The IRS estimates that $17.4 billion or 25.3% of EITC are made improperly. We are interested in details you may provide regarding the Data Hub’s operations, including:
Which agency exercises jurisdiction over administration, operation, maintenance and access to the Data Hub’s use?
Are there are any Memorandums of Understanding that may exist between federal or state agencies regarding access and use of the Data Hub for non-ACA related purposes?
Could the Data Hub be used by another federal or state agency for application verification for a federal program, such income verification for food assistance or Medicaid eligibility, or income verification for the earned income tax credit?
If not, what barriers exist for the Data Hub to be used by another federal or state agency?
If so, how can a federal or state agency apply to use the Data Hub?
Can you share any information regarding the Data Hub’s effectiveness when it comes to comparing application information with the various databases?
Thank you for continuing to work to eliminate waste, duplication and inefficiencies in the federal government.