The GAO, Government Accountability Office (yes, there is one, you just don’t hear a lot about it) set up a sting operation to uncover incompetence in the eligibility verification process for applicants of healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.
Surprise! They found some.
“No wonder hard-working Americans are fed up with a government that spends too much on broken programs that aren’t doing the job they’re intended to. We can and must do better.”
Eleven out of 12 fake applications for government-subsidized health insurance got through a verification process and the bogus beneficiaries are still covered, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday.
The GAO launched the sting to check to see how well the Obamacare process checks for counterfeit applications. The results were messy, GAO’s Seto Bagdoyan says in testimony prepared for a hearing Wednesday of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.
“The federal marketplace approved coverage for 11 of our 12 fictitious applicants who initially applied online, or by telephone,” Bagdoyan, who directs GAO’s Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, said in testimony obtained by NBC News.
Only one of the group of 12 was correctly told he or she could not apply. “For one application, the marketplace denied coverage because GAO’s fictitious applicant did not provide a Social Security number as part of the test,” Bagdoyan said.
The other 11 got through and received federal subsidies to help pay for their health insurance.
“The total amount of these credits for the 11 approved applications is about $2,500 monthly or about $30,000 annually. We also obtained cost-sharing reduction subsidies, according to marketplace representatives, in at least nine of the 11 cases,” Bagdoyan said.
“We are seeing a trend with Obamacare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud,” committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, told NBC News. “Last month, we found that the administration was unable to verify income or eligibility for insurance subsidies. Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents.”