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EDITORIAL: Obamacare fraud rampant

As we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, Obamacare is a disaster. The legislation has jacked up both premiums and out-of-pocket costs to the point that the health coverage is essentially worthless for families living paycheck to paycheck.

Many healthy people who could afford Obamacare aren’t buying in — and, as a result, subjecting themselves to rising tax penalties — because they view it as a bad a deal, and major insurers are pondering dropping Obamacare coverage because it’s financially unsustainable. And now, as if all of that wasn’t bad enough, a new report from the Government Accountability Office outlining stunning levels of Obamacare fraud — which the government is doing little to nothing to combat — reinforces just how unaffordable the so-called Affordable Care Act has become.

According to the GAO report, billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies were paid out in 2014 to individuals with “unresolved inconsistencies” regarding their eligibility for coverage:

• As of April 2015, more than 431,000 applications — amounting to $1.7 billion in taxpayer subsidies — had unresolved paperwork discrepancies dating to 2014.

• Roughly 22,000 applications that may (or may not) have been filed by people serving prison sentences added up to another $68 million in subsidies. (Prisoners are not eligible for Obamacare coverage.) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid is required to check a national database to verify an applicant is not incarcerated, but since the CMS learned that the data in the database wasn’t up to date, CMS’ new official policy is to — get this — take the applicant’s word as to his or her incarceration status.

• Another 35,000 applications with varying forms of inconsistency with their Social Security numbers received subsidies worth $154 million.

When the GAO asked the CMS why it hadn’t done anything to resolve the inconsistencies, the CMS responded that it didn’t view Social Security number inconsistencies as a standalone problem, despite regulations that state that the CMS must try to resolve those inconsistencies.

While the report points out that the CMS’s document processing contractor hasn’t identified any fraud, the contractor isn’t required — or even equipped — to detect any, either.

“Instead,” the report states, “CMS requires the contractor only to inspect for documents that have obviously been altered. Overall, according to CMS officials, the agency has limited ability to detect and respond to attempts at fraud. They told us CMS must balance consumers’ ability to ‘effectively and efficiently’ select Marketplace coverage with ‘program-integrity concerns.’”

So basically, what’s going on here is that Obamacare fraud is rampant — because nobody has the responsibility of rooting out fraud. Perfect.

This is just one more reason that Obamacare is a disaster as health care policy, proving government is incapable of managing and delivering health care — as is the case with many other areas government steps into, when the free market would do a far better job at a far better price.

We’ve said it many times before: all Americans need to be saved from this broken legislation. There is no fixing the Affordable Care Act. The country’s next president must champion its repeal.

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