While Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and their allies are waging what appears to be a hopeless fight in their attempt to defund ObamaCare, many of their Republican colleagues are stabbing them in the back in the anonymity of leaks and character assassination in the cloakrooms of the Senate.
All of these attempts to allow ObamaCare to be funded, if successful, will unleash a program on the American people that will be rife with waste, fraud and corruption.
Let’s start with the navigators. The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a reduction from 30 to 20 hours in their training.
Let’s remember several things that these people will do. Their job is to assist Americans to sign up for the health care law. Many of the Americans who will be signing up have absolutely no experience with government forms and procedures. Yet, we have barely-trained navigators assisting them. It will be a case of the near-blind leading the blind.
In order to sign up for Obamacare the enrollees need a checking account to receive and pay for their benefits. Yet, many of them have no banking privileges. Therefore, the navigators will need to help them with this task that requires revealing sensitive information, such as their social security numbers.
It’s a golden opportunity for crooked navigators to perpetrate mass identity fraud and theft. Remember that the vetting of the navigators has been cursory at best. 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.
Let’s move on to the many requirements and procedures that were jettisoned by the administration in order to get the exchanges up and running by the October 1st deadline.
The administration decided to put Americans who use the exchanges on the “honor system” when it comes to qualifying for exchange subsidies next year. The original plan called for HHS and the IRS to verify enrollees income in order to prove that they qualified for a government subsidy.
So sorry, no time or technology for that. For the first year people will be on their honor with regards to their income. As the Associated Press noted, “a scofflaw could lie, and there’s no easy way to check”. This is an invitation for fraud on a breathtaking scale.
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. Those who receive subsidies improperly will have to pay some of the subsidies back. But in many cases individuals can receive much more in improper subsidies than Obamacare ever requires them to repay. We’ve written about this before here.
Incredibly, the vendor that just was awarded a contract worth at least $1 billion to verify enrollees’ claims was just was just placed under investigation in Britain for over-billing the British government to the tune of tens of millions of pounds. Only under ObamaCare is this possible.
Finally, we have the all-knowing Federal Data Services Hub. This database is supposed to have been ready by October 1st. If you thought that the National Security Agency was Big Brother, this monstrosity will knock your socks off.
It combines data on income and employment from IRS records, health and entitlements from HHS records, identity from Social Security, citizenship from Department of Homeland Security records, criminality from Department of Justice records, and residency from state records. Also involved will be the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Personnel Management, the Peace Corps, and state Medicaid administrations.
In a word, the Federal Data Services Hub is the most intrusive government creation yet. When they’re done, the Federal government will have every iota of your personal information that is available. And here’s the kicker: much of your personal information will be put it at serious risk of being compromised if the system and all of its many parts are not secure. We’ve written about this before here.
The potential for hackers to penetrate the security of the Federal Data Services Hub is astronomical. exchanges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will connect to the hub.
But both the state exchanges and the Federal Data Hub also connect to state Medicaid programs and a host of private entities, including insurance carriers, Web brokers, navigators and traditional agents and brokers. Technology and service vendors are supporting these operations at every level. That’s a whole lot of points of entry for potential hackers.
Even though all of these entities have robust cybersecurity programs they have never faced a threat that is not typical for their current day-to-day operations. They will become a target for hackers seeking to tap a vast quantity of sensitive personal data or to cripple the Obamacare initiative.
This program is not ready for prime time, in fact it may never be ready. It’s a program that a majority of the American people do not want. And finally, its unintended consequences are wrecking the American economy and draining jobs from Americans in need of them.