Obamacare: Open Season for Fraud
As if the Affordable Care Act’s massive increase in government intervention in the U.S. health care system was not enough of a problem, it appears that the system practically invites waste, fraud and abuse, according to a series of government oversight reports.
In the latest report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, echoing a similar report it published in July, found that basic information used to determine enrollment and subsidy eligibility, such as Social Security number, citizenship status, household income and family size, was not verified by the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (based on data from New Jersey and North Dakota) or the two state exchanges examined, in California and Kentucky, which led to the approval of fictitious applications submitted by the GAO.
“Although eight of these 10 fictitious applications failed the initial identity-checking process, all 10 were subsequently approved by the federal marketplace or the selected state marketplaces,” the GAO reported. “Four applications used Social Security numbers that ... have never been issued ... Other applicants had duplicate enrollment or claimed their employer did not provide insurance that meets minimum essential coverage.”
Like the GAO, an August report from the Department of Health and Human Service’s inspector general criticized Healthcare.gov for failing to verify applicants’ eligibility and resolve inconsistencies. A June report by the same agency “could not verify that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service correctly applied any of the nearly $2.8 billion in financial assistance payments that it made during the period January through April 2014.”
And in May the U.S. Treasury Department’s Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration noted that CMS and a number of state exchanges had not provided much of their enrollment data to the Internal Revenue Service, so the IRS was unable to verify if those claiming the health care tax credit had actually purchased insurance through an exchange.
In its zeal to sign up as many people as possible for health insurance and government benefits, the Obama administration appears to have forced accuracy and fraud prevention to take a back seat. Obamacare has, thus, proven to be the bureaucratic nightmare that critics warned about, and should leave taxpayers feeling rather sick.
Reprinted from the Orange County Register
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