Undercover federal investigators found that defrauding ObamaCare is a piece of cake. With a fake name and fake documents, investigators were able to receive both taxpayer subsidies and insurance coverage.
The Government Accountability Office (which may sound similar to our organization’s name but is entirely different) sent investigators from their Forensic Audits division to test the veracity of the federal government’s anti-fraud mechanisms in the ObamaCare exchange. The results were damning. In fact, 11 of the 12 fake applicants were able to sign-up for the program and receive taxpayer-funded subsidies. From the New York Times:
The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said their tests indicated the Obama administration was not adequately verifying information submitted by applicants. In a report to Congress, the investigators said that 11 out of 12 applications using fictitious identities had been approved. Moreover, they said, the federal contractor that is supposed to check income and citizenship “told us it does not seek to detect fraud and accepts documents as authentic unless there are obvious alterations.”
So the people in charge of keeping fraud out of the system do not “seek to detect fraud.” Huh? What does that mean in dollar terms? GAO’s Seto Bagdoyan tells us.
“The total amount of these credits for the 11 approved applications is about $2,500 monthly or about $30,000 annually. We also obtained cost-sharing reduction subsidies, according to marketplace representatives, in at least nine of the 11 cases,” Bagdoyan said.
When confronted with the findings of this GAO investigation, Health and Human Services Department spokesman Kevin Griffis said that efforts to verify information in submitted applications is “ongoing and have not concluded,” which is government speak for “we have no idea how to fix this but we are paying people to pretend to do so until you stop paying attention.”
The fraud record for government entitlements, especially health care programs, is not a good one. Studies show that fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid system could be costing taxpayers roughly $100 billion in improper payments per year! Let’s say that again to be clear, $100 billion worth of taxpayer dollars is given out fraudulently each year in the Medicare and Medicaid programs already. With that kind of track record, how well can we expect the feds to do in exposing and recovering fraudulent payments under ObamaCare?
The Congressional Budget Office already estimates that Washington will spend a whopping $1.4 trillion in payments for ObamaCare over the next decade. With the potential for massive fraud in the system, how much more will be spent in fraudulent payments to fictitious recipients? This calamity is not going unnoticed in the halls of Congress.
“Obamacare is a mess. Its broken structure invites waste, fraud, and abuse that will cost the American taxpayer millions in subsidies to individuals whose eligibility the administration won’t bother to verify,” Rep. Charles Boustany, a Louisiana Republican who chairs the oversight subcommittee, said in a statement. “No wonder hard-working Americans are fed up with a government that spends too much on broken programs that aren’t doing the job they’re intended to. We can and must do better.”
This is just further evidence that ObamaCare was not ready for primetime when it was rolled out last fall. The crashing website, the myriad of sign-up problems, the “still under construction” back-end of the site, and now the possibility for rampant fraud.