Another vignette in the long, painful process of ObamaCare disintegration is delivered by the Washington Post, which reports that our super-genius centrally-planned mega-bureaucracy and its billion-dollar website aren’t very good at detecting fraudulent applications or subsidy ripoffs:
In undercover tests of the new federal health insurance marketplace, government investigators have been able to procure health plans and federal subsidies for fake applicants with fictitious documents, according to findings that will be disclosed to lawmakers Wednesday.
The results of the inquiry by the Government Accountability Office are evidence of still-imperfect work by specialists intended to assist new insurance customers as well as government contractors hired to verify that coverage and subsidies are legitimate. The GAO also pointed to flaws that linger in the marketplace???s Web site, HealthCare.gov.
“Still-imperfect work?” I’m going to need a moment to clear the tears of laughter from my eyes before I can keep reading. That’s got to be one of the all-time-great Protect the Precious euphemisms. Just how “imperfect” does the People’s Glorious Health Care Plan remain? Oh, only about 95 percent imperfect:
According to testimony to be delivered before a House Ways and Means subcommittee, undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants online or by phone, using invalid or missing Social Security numbers or inaccurate citizenship information.
All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage ??? and have kept it. In one instance, an application was denied but then approved on a second try. In six other attempts to sign up fake applicants via in-person assisters, just one assister accurately told an investigator that the applicant???s income was too high for a subsidy.
The Treasury vaults are open, and thieves are strolling out with bags of taxpayer cash over their shoulders, but don’t worry, it’ll all get cleared up sooner or later. The vast bureaucracy created with billions of your dollars was able to catch one out of twelve fraudsters, so you can’t say the system is a total failure!
House Republicans were eager for early information because the findings reinforce their contention that the Obama administration set up the health insurance marketplace in ways that leave it vulnerable to fraud and waste of taxpayer money. The allegation that HealthCare.gov does not properly verify the identity and eligibility of consumers has been one of several lines of attack that congressional Republicans have used in trying to discredit the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the way administration officials set it in motion.
The GAO investigation was requested before the marketplace opened in the fall, by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.); Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.), chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee; and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).
Even before the GAO delivered the early findings, the lawmakers were seizing them as fresh ammunition. ???We are seeing a trend with Obamacare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud,??? Camp said in a statement. ???Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents.???
It’s not Republicans who are discrediting ObamaCare, it’s the Obama Administration. And they’re not just “trying.” They’re doing a fantastic job of it. And let’s not forget that even the subsidies that aren’t looted by fraudsters have been largely doled out in defiance of the law. If we’re going to put up with an imperial executive ignoring the clear wording of duly-passed legislation, we must at least insist they watch our money more carefully than a Cub Scout troop managing the cash jar at a lemonade stand.
But they’re not, and let me be extremely blunt about why: the Obama Administration is not in the business of saying “no” to ObamaCare applications, especially during this disastrous first year. They don’t really care if millions of subsidy dollars are incorrectly handed out to ineligible participants – that’s not even a Top Five priority item. Priority One was rushing as many people as possible into Affordable Care Act plans, as quickly as possible, to pump up the enrollment numbers and score a few public-relations wins during crucial news cycles, especially the delayed end of official enrollment last April.
Not only are warm bodies needed to stave off devastating media headlines about ObamaCare missing its (revised) enrollment targets by a mile, but millions in subsidy payments are necessary to build up a layer of dependency muscle for depending the program. It’s going to be a huge talking point that X number of Americans are now dependent on $Y billion in taxpayer subsidies to afford health insurance, without which they would instantly die, so anyone who wants to repeal ObamaCare is essentially passing a death sentence on all those hapless Working Americans. The bigger the subsidy payments are, the stronger that argument becomes. Again, it’s not a Top Five priority for the Administration to ensure the subsidies are delivered with meticulous precision to highly qualified applicants. That can all be sorted out later, if ever. It’s only taxpayer money, after all.