- The federal government website for Obamacare, HealthCare.gov, was plagued with problems for MONTHS after the law went into effect.
- President Ebola lied when he promised the American people that “If you like your [pre-Obamacare health insurance] plan, you can keep it.” Instead, millions of Americans discovered their health plans were cancelled.
- President Ebola lied again when he promised the American people that, after Obamacare became law, our medical insurance costs would go down. Instead, they went up. Way up.
The latest: Fake Obamacare applicants got healthcare subsidies, that is, free medical care paid for by already beleaguered taxpayers.
How do we know that?
Because the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm and government watchdog, recently conducted undercover testing of Obamacare enrollment. GAO pretended to be Obamacare applicants and succeeded in obtaining healthcare coverage subsidies for 11 fake applicants.
Obamacare provides subsidies through the marketplace to eligible applicants, at significant cost to taxpayers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the estimated net cost of coverage provisions to the federal government is $36 billion for fiscal year 2014, and $1.4 trillion for fiscal years 2015 through 2024— with subsidies accounting for most of the cost.
The GAO investigation was requested 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).
Laurie Ure reports for CNN that the GAO created 18 fictitious applicants to test the Affordable Care Act’s “front-end” controls for verifying an applicant’s identity or citizenship status:
- In 12 cases, the “applicants” applied online or by telephone. Eleven obtained subsidized coverage. One was denied because the “applicant” did not provide a Social Security number.
- Six other fake applicants used, or tried to use, in-person assistance. Five were unable to obtain such help, and the 6th was correctly told that the applicant’s stated income would not qualify for a subsidy.
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on oversight, which commissioned the GAO study, presided over a hearing on July 23, 2014, on the GAO test’s results.
As of the committee hearing, coverage remains in effect for all 11 approved fake applications, according to the GAO’s investigations director Seto Bagdoyan.
Rep. Charles Boustany said, “Sadly, this should not be terribly surprising. The question is whether the (Obama) administration is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and is putting in place adequate controls to protect those dollars from fraud, waste, and abuse. The history of the health care law’s implementation suggests the answer is no.”
Knowingly providing false information is a violation of federal law, subject to a $25,000 fine.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oversees online marketplaces, which are in turn required to take several steps to verify application information.
In a statement, CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said the Obamacare exchange marketplace has “several layers of safeguards” to verify applicant information, including a requirement that consumers submit accurate information when applying for health coverage, and insisted that “the steps we take to ensure that . . . no one receives a benefit they shouldn’t, are ongoing and have not concluded.”
Blah. Blah. Blah.