Stopping ObamaCare Fraud – WSJ.com
Every politician claims to hate fraud in government, and the House of Representatives will have a chance to prove it Wednesday when it votes to close a gigantic hole for potential abuse in the Affordable Care Act.
The Health and Human Services Department announced in July that it won’t verify individual eligibility for the tens of billions in insurance subsidies the law will dole out. Americans are supposed to receive those subsidies based on income and only if their employer doesn’t provide federally approved health benefits. But until 2015 the rule will be: Come on in, the subsidy is fine.
HHS will let applicants “self attest” that they are legally eligible. No further questions asked. The new ObamaCare exchanges will also be taking applicants’ word on their projected household income. It seems that what it calls “operational barriers” continue to prevent HHS from checking applications against IRS income data.
The Administration argues that the fear of later HHS audits will keep applicants honest, though the threat of such checks has hardly prevented other fraud. The Treasury Inspector General estimates that 21% to 25% of Earned Income Tax Credits go to people who aren’t eligible. An equivalent rate of fraud in ObamaCare could mean $250 billion in bad payments in a decade. And does HHS really plan to claw back overpayments from individual exchange participants?
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