July 17 2015
One News Now
News of fake ObamaCare applicants getting to renew coverage brings some of President Obama's remarks about the healthcare law back into question.
The Government Accountability Office, which is part of the federal government, says Healthcare.gov automatically reenrolled 11 counterfeit characters created by the GAO last year. That's despite many of them having unresolved documentation issues.
Prior to the recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld federal subsidies for people enrolling on Healthcare.gov, President Obama said, "This [healthcare law] is working." The president also said, "It does not need fixing."
Based on that, OneNewsNow asks Hadley Heath Manning, director of health policy for the Independent Women's Forum this question: If a paid government employee was able to create a fictitious person to successfully enroll in the healthcare law, does that show that this law is working and does not need fixing?
"Oh, no, I think that this is a very clear trend,” she says. “You know, you can ask the public, 'Do they think ObamaCare needs fixing?' And more people will say either (a) they want to repeal it or (b) they want major changes made to the law than you will see responding and saying things like 'It doesn't need fixing' or 'It is working' or 'It only needs minor fixes.' So, I think it's pretty obvious."
Meanwhile, Manning questions how many government reports it takes for people to recognize that this law is not only "failing" to deliver on many of the promises that people made about it. She argues it's actually contributing to more waste, fraud and abuse in government, while creating more inefficiencies for the healthcare system that is so important for people when they actually do need to access healthcare.
OneNewsNow also sought comment from Yevgeniy Feyman, fellow and deputy director of the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research.
"I think it's good that we have GAO doing this," he states. "You know, it makes me less trusting of what [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)] is doing on their end, but I'll say this to CMS's credit: They did remove a number of people who were not able to provide immigration verification last year from the rolls."
He continues: "So my sense is they probably are able to catch bad enrollment, people who enroll incorrectly, eventually. Certainly, some slip through. I think this is going to be a challenge and I think government is going to be worse at handling that challenge than say a private contractor would be. But I do have hope that moving forward they'll get better at this."
On Thursday, Senate Democrats began pushing back against the undercover investigation. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said the probe didn't uncover any real-world fraud, and the investigators themselves admit the findings do not apply to the 10 million people getting coverage.
About those remarks, Feyman says: "He is literally correct about that: GAO didn't identify any particular fraud; they didn't identify fraudulent enrollment. But certainly, if CMS can't catch that fraudulent enrollment, it means they probably can't catch any real fraudulent enrollment. It's kind of a weak defense. It's like saying, You didn't find anything, and we can't find anything either, so there you go. It's not a strong defense of the program, but sure, he's literally right."
The Associated Press reports that the GAO's audits chief thinks the investigation exposed real concerns. Meanwhile, the audits chief says it was relatively easy for GAO's fictitious characters to get and keep coverage.