They did it again. Undercover federal investigators found that defrauding ObamaCare is still quite easy. As we covered last year, with a fake name and fake documents, investigators were able to receive both taxpayer subsidies and insurance coverage. Well it seems that these bogus applicants were re-enrolled this year.
Phony applicants that investigators signed up last year under President Barack Obama’s health care law got automatically re-enrolled for 2015. Some were rewarded with even bigger taxpayer subsidies for their insurance premiums, a congressional probe has found.
The Government Accountability Office found that “11 counterfeit characters that its investigators created last year were automatically re-enrolled by HealthCare.gov, even though most had unresolved documentation issues.” As the AP says, “In Obama’s terms, they got to keep the coverage they had.”
Federal officials later terminated six of these fake enrollees, however, “GAO said it was able to get five of them reinstated by calling HealthCare.gov’s consumer service center.”
It’s really not amusing, but one has to laugh at the AP quote pointing out the obvious: “That seemed to be a weak link in the system.” Even some members of the media can’t help but acknowledge the absurdity of ObamaCare’s enrollment system.
But it gets worse because, “The five bogus beneficiaries who were reinstated even got their monthly subsidies bumped up a bit, although GAO did not ask for it.”
GAO audits and investigations chief Seto Bagdoyan told the Senate Finance Committee that “HealthCare.gov does not appear to be set up to detect fraud,” and that “HealthCare.gov’s document-processing contractor ‘is not required to seek to detect fraud.'” Bagdoyan continued, “The contractor personnel involved in the document-verification process are not trained as fraud experts and do not perform antifraud duties.”
Well, that’s not very reassuring to taxpayers, is it?
Congress is understandably not happy with this news. From Finance Committee Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch:
That the administration failed to weed out fake applicants one year later is yet another shocking development that, unfortunately, continues the trend of Obamacare’s gross mismanagement at the expense of hardworking taxpayers. Even worse, as demonstrated by GAO, the administration allowed most of the fictitious enrollees to sign up for subsidies again using false information. Not only does this negligence enhance the likelihood for abuse of taxpayer dollars, but it also calls into question the legitimacy of the health law’s enrollment numbers and challenges the integrity of the website’s security checks. The proof is in the pudding – subsidies can be obtained by using unverifiable information. Sadly, it’s now crystal clear the administration turned a blind eye to fixing a basic component of their ill-conceived law and failed to implement the appropriate safeguards.
After last year’s revelations about the ease of fraud in the ObamaCare enrollment process, “the administration said it would work to strengthen HealthCare.gov’s verification checks.” Not surprisingly, “Administration officials had no initial comment.”
How many people have really signed up? How many legitimate applications have been processed? Are there duplicate enrollees? Unfortunately, these are questions we may never know the answer to.