Kelly Bartlett / October 30, 2015

The Fraudable Care Act

We knew what would be in it before it passed.

ObamaCare is not healthy. Saddled with side effects from fraud to canceled plans, the sickening reality is that government-driven health care delivers higher costs, more uncertainty and the potential to put insurance plans in a death spiral.

Undercover investigators from the Government Accountability Office created 18 false identities and successfully received subsidized coverage or Medicaid for all but one of them. This, despite the use of nonexistent Social Security numbers, fake birth certificates and other false documentation. Seto Bagdoyan, director of forensic audits at GAO, reported that “eligibility determination and enrollment process remains vulnerable to fraud.” One fictitious applicant not only received subsidized coverage from the federal marketplace, but also two state exchanges at the same time. Officials told Bagdoyan “there is no current process to identify individuals with multiple enrollments through different marketplaces.” What’s especially troubling is that the GAO discovered similar vulnerabilities to fraud during its 2013-14 investigation.

Duplicate coverage drives up the cost, as some people received subsidies for private insurance while enrolled in Medicaid. In addition, states incorrectly qualified some people for Medicaid despite their income exceeding the required income levels.

While one of the GAO’s fictitious applicants received three insurance policies, other real-life Americans are in round three of enrolling after losing their health insurance plans not once, but twice. Nine out of 23 co-ops set up to enroll people in ObamaCare have died and 11 more are on life support, causing families to switch plans again. National Review reports:

> “Over 600,000 people who enrolled in co-op health plans will lose their insurance at the end of this year. Many of them were forced into the co-ops to begin with when Obamacare canceled their private insurance policies in 2013, meaning they will have lost their health insurance twice because of the law.”

Taxpayers have dished out over $1 billion for the nine failed co-ops. That would be a steep price for success, but to pay that much for fiascos is particularly onerous — especially during stagnant economic conditions.

Dollars get in the way of dreams, even in liberal Vermont, home to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the avid fan of Scandinavian-style socialism. Late last year, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin abandoned his vision of single-payer health care. “In my judgment,” he said, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families and the state’s economy.” By disruption, Shumlin means an 11.5% payroll tax and an additional income tax hike up to 9.5%.

Despite this expensive lesson, Colorado is now considering single-payer. Yes, the same state that brought us the “Brosurance” keg stand ad promoting the Affordable Care Act and the Colorado Pot Guide for the “weed enthusiast” is voting next month to decide whether to replace ObamaCare with ColoradoCare, funded by a 10% payroll tax hike (a.k.a. a $25 billion increase). Investor’s Business Daily reports that Colorado HealthOP, built with $72 million in federal loans, collapsed after losing $23 million in its first year. Before its demise, it had sought rate increases of up to 24% for the following year.

The collapse of Colorado HealthOP dumped more than 80,000 people off their insurance policies. Now these folks have to start shopping again in November, or face the consequences.

Meanwhile, an alarming number of doctors are looking for new jobs. Forbes reported that even before ObamaCare was implemented the mere thought of more government control in the health industry caused physicians to consider packing it in. A survey by the Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation “reveals that 83 percent of physicians surveyed are thinking of quitting because of Obamacare.”

The Affordable Care Act is not affordable; it’s fraudable. But this isn’t surprising since the entire enterprise was founded on fraud and deceit. As that notorious health insurance redesigner and MIT professor Jonathan Gruber pointed out, “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”

While hawking ObamaCare, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously declared, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” And on the campaign trail, Barack Obama repeatedly assured voters, “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. Period.” Now Americans don’t like what they’re finding. They’re not only losing their doctors but also their insurance policies as co-ops collapse.

It’s important to remember that ObamaCare is not about health care as much as it’s about money and power. It created a massive redistribution of insurance dollars — a “tax,” as Supreme Court Justice John Roberts bluntly termed it.

ObamaCare was brought to you by Democrats without a single Republican vote, not because the GOP doesn’t care about health, but because Republicans accurately predicted the side effects of government intrusion into the health insurance business. Democrats now own ObamaCare.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many options, including the eight common-sense suggestions of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who endorsed ideas such as transparent costs, HSAs, interstate insurance commerce, tort reform, equalizing tax laws and repealing government mandates. Several GOP presidential candidates have workable alternatives, as well.

America can get healthier. But not with ObamaCare, which has routinely and repeatedly violated the foundational principle of healing: First, do no harm.

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