Story first appeared: FoxNews.com
government investigators were able to obtain thousands of dollars in
taxpayer subsidies under ObamaCare using fake identities, according to
findings being presented to Congress on Wednesday.
The probe by
the Government Accountability Office has raised fresh concerns about the
ability of the sprawling health care program to prevent or intercept
costly fraud schemes. In the case of the GAO investigation, 11 out of 12
applications submitted using "fictitious identities" were accepted,
resulting in subsidized health coverage.
"For each of our 11
approved applications, we paid the required premiums to put policies
into force, and are continuing to pay the premiums. For the 11
applications that were approved for coverage, we obtained the advance
premium tax credit in all cases," the report said.
According to the GAO, the total amount for these credits was $2,500 monthly, adding up to $30,000 a year.
GAO officials were to testify about the findings before a House Ways and Means subcommittee Wednesday.
are seeing a trend with ObamaCare information systems: under every
rock, there is incompetence, waste, and the potential for fraud," Rep.
Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the committee, said in a statement.
"This law is already hitting Americans where it hurts the most - their
pocketbooks. Now, this administration is forcing the American taxpayer
to foot the bill for ObamaCare's waste and fraud."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, added: "Ironically, the GAO has found ObamaCare is working really well -- for those who don't exist."
The inquiries were carried out in several different states.
administration pointed out that six of the GAO's fake online
applications were blocked by eligibility checks built into computer
systems at HealthCare.gov. Still, the GAO says its undercover agents
found a way around that by phoning the call centers and were able to
In six other applications, GAO investigators also
tried to sign up fake applicants with in-person representatives. But in
five of those cases, GAO was "unable to obtain in-person assistance"
for various reasons, including one representative saying they could not
help because HealthCare.gov was down.
"We are examining this
report carefully and will work with GAO to identify additional
strategies to strengthen our verification processes," administration
spokesman Aaron Albright said. At least on paper, fraudsters risk
prosecution and heavy fines.
The GAO said its investigators
concocted fake identities using invalid Social Security numbers and
falsely claiming citizenship or legal residence. In other cases, they
made up income figures that would disqualify them from getting
Among the findings:
--Contractors processing applications for the government told the GAO their role was not to ferret out potential fraud.
of six bogus phone applications went through successfully. The one
exception involved an applicant who refused to provide a Social Security
--Six online applications were snagged by an identity
checking system. But investigators just dialed a call center and all six
were approved. That seemed to be an open pathway to coverage.