A senior policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation has made the case for why ObamaCare is “a fraudster’s dream.”
In its rush to get the ObamaCare exchanges up and running, the Obama administration has either thrown out or cut back on numerous requirements which, according to Chris Jacobs, were originally in place to ensure that taxpayer dollars were spent properly. Consequently, the law is shaping up to be a paradise for those who profit off of waste, fraud and abuse.
For example, Jacobs points to the recent announcement by the Obama administration that it was reducing – by 50 percent – the number of required training hours for ObamaCare’s “navigators,” i.e., the individuals who are paid to facilitate Americans’ enrollment in the health care exchanges. Will the minimal training of those who are to assist Americans with a new online exchange system place them at risk for scamming?
Similarly, Jacobs observes that the decision to allow Americans to use the “honor system” when qualifying for exchange subsidies will have two substantial effects:
The law says that only individuals who lack access to “affordable” coverage through their employers should qualify for the subsidies. But in reality, the administration will have to take applicant’s claims at face value, because they won’t be able verify their accuracy. As the Associated Press noted, “a scofflaw could lie, and there’s no easy way to check” — a great recipe for fraud.
Second, the administration will conduct limited checks of applicants’ income, giving individuals a strong incentive to under-report their earnings on their application, to receive the maximum possible insurance subsidy. Individuals can lowball their income numbers on the application, and receive thousands — even tens of thousands — of dollars in taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies. While those who receive subsidies improperly will have to pay some of the subsidies back, in many cases individuals can receive much more in improper subsidies than Obamacare ever requires them to repay.
Jacobs goes on to say that it’s unlikely Americans can place much faith in the federal government protecting them from abuse through loopholes since “the contractor that just won a multi-year contract valued at up to $1 billion to verify exchange applicants’ claims is currently being investigated in Britain for over-billing the British government to the tune of tens of millions of pounds.”
Besides fraud against the federal government, which would amount to a loss to taxpayers, ObamaCare is also likely to lead to fraud against individual Americans:
The training program prescribed by the government does not require anti-fraud training for navigators. It also does not require “minimum eligibility criteria and background checks” for those participating in the program.
The lack of background checks means scam artists could easily use the navigator program to prey on vulnerable individuals. Even California’s insurance commissioner — a strong supporter of the law — said, “We can have a real disaster on our hands” when it comes to navigators.
Jacobs concludes that Americans have now seen a whole series of announcements and policies that show why ObamaCare is setting up to be “a fraudster’s dream – and a nightmare for the American taxpayers who will pay the bill for con artists’ scams.”