I don’t know whether it matters if you score this as ten out of eleven, or ‘merely’ five: either way… Houston, we have a problem.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office says 11 counterfeit characters that its investigators created last year were automatically re-enrolled by HealthCare.gov. In Obama’s terms, they got to keep the coverage they had.
Six of those later were flagged and sent termination notices. But GAO said it was able to get five of them reinstated, by calling HealthCare.gov’s consumer service center. The five even got their monthly subsidies bumped up a bit, although GAO did not ask for it. The case of the sixth fake enrollee was under review.
The GAO’s sardonic conclusion of the problem (I don’t know if it’s a direct quote or not) can be found in the title of this post. But let us not pretend that successful fraudulent applications represent a flaw in the system: they are, in fact, part of the system. Lest we forget (which is admittedly hard to do): Obamacare is a government program. In fact, it’s a government program that the current government is absolutely desperate to have succeed. The only way to keep the whole thing from collapsing into a fetid heap of delayed verification is to approve any application that does not have HELLO, MY NAME IS [NAME] AND I WISH TO COMMIT TAX FRAUD scrawled across it in big, shaky red letters.
Huh. The GAO should have done exactly that as a test, just to see how many of those would have gotten through. Although, to be fair I don’t imagine that more than two out of eleven. Maybe three. Four if circumstances were perfectly aligned.
PS: For extra horrified laughter: the administration informed GAO that the company running Healthcare.gov aren’t set up to detect fraud, but that there’s no meaningful level of fraud anyway so that’s all right. No, I’m not sure how they’re determining that, either. Maybe Tarot cards?
PPS: Good news, though: “The fake enrollees also got some perplexing instructions from HealthCare.gov. Eight of the 11 were asked to submit additional documentation to prove their citizenship and identity. But the list of suitable paperwork detailed documents for verifying income instead.” So at least anybody out there committing tax fraud will have to deal with just as much government ineptitude as the rest of us…