July 24 2014
Vicki E. Alger
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says its undercover investigators were able to get subsidized health care under fake names in 11 out of 18 attempts. The GAO is still paying premiums for the policies, even as the Obama administration attempts to verify phony documentation. …
GAO said its investigators concocted fake identities using invalid Social Security numbers and falsely claiming citizenship or legal residence. In other cases, they made up income figures that would disqualify them from getting subsidies. Among the findings:
—Contractors processing applications for the government told the GAO that their role was not to ferret out potential fraud.
—Five of six bogus phone applications went through successfully. The one exception involved an applicant who refused to provide a Social Security number.
—Six online applications were snagged by an identity checking system. But investigators just dialed a call center and all six were approved. That seemed to be an open pathway to coverage.
—The GAO also tried to check the reliability of counselors providing in-person assistance. In five out of six cases, investigators were unable to get help. In the final case, the counselor correctly told the undercover investigator that their stated income would not entitle them to subsidized coverage.
At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Wednesday Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said the health law is rife with "incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud."
So much for former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ assurance to President Obama last January that applicants’ eligibility for the healthcare exchanges is verified. Then again, maybe her verification letter was just a “drafting error.”