Look! Squirrel! IG report shows Obamacare in a world of hurt
What crisis should we focus on today so that we can safely ignore the latest IG report from HHS on Obamacare? The IRS is always good for a distraction but I think wse should resurrect Ukraine. There hasn't been a war scare there for weeks.
Anything but the IG report. That's because the conclusions reached by the HHS inspector general are so damning of the failure of the entire enterprise that an already angry public will probably reach for the pitchforks and start warming up the tar and tearing up the feather pillows.
There are 5 major issues found by the IG - all of which have the potential to massively increase calls for Obamacare's repeal.
1. Fraud could be significant. The audit found the federal government has been unable to resolve 2.6 million out of 2.9 million “inconsistencies” in the information provided by people who applied for health care subsidies. In other words, it could not verify the data provided by people seeking subsidies.
2. Most inconsistencies were about citizenship and income. The vast majority of the questionable data provided by those receiving health care subsidies relate to citizenship and income level. The audit found that 44 percent of inconsistent information concerned verifying citizenship or lawful presence. Income information made up 33 percent of the potentially faulty data, and in 11 percent of cases, the government couldn’t verify whether a person was truly ineligible for employer-sponsored insurance.
Citizenship and income are the two categories where you would most expect fraud to occur. If so, it looks like about 1/3 of enrollees may be receiving tax money in the form of subsidies that they don't deserve.
Republicans warned years ahead of time that the systems in place were inadequate to prevent his kind of massive fraud.
4. The healthcare.gov site is still incomplete. According to the audit, the federal government was unable to resolve inconsistent data from subsidy applicants because the system “was not fully operational.” In fact, the government was not able to determine how many applicants with whom the government had at least one problem verifying the information they provided.
5. Some state-run marketplaces have problems, too. Four states do not have the capacity to determine how many applicants for health care subsidies have provided potentially faulty information. Nevada and Oregon reported their systems “were not built with the capacity to provide that data.” In Colorado and Minnesota, health care marketplace officials relied on state Medicaid offices to do the verifying and said they had no access to the information.
The other problem is also with the website; it's still not working correctly.
According to the audit, one health care marketplace was unable to verify the information on 15,000 applications because of outages on the federal website for verifying data. The federal data hubs also contained old and inaccurate information. In some cases, for example, infants were identified as “incarcerated.”
This is an absolutely horrific report - possibly billions in fraud, a still dysfunctional website, and baby felons.
Isn't it time we did the humane thing and pump a bullet into the ACA to put it out of its misery?