Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Q: “Will Obamacare Encourage Fraud?” A: “I’ll Have to Think About That…”

As we learn more each day about what Obamacare will bring, a video that recently became available reveals another frightening turn. The federal government already struggles with fraud in many major programs such as Medicare and Social Security. What about the forthcoming Obamacare insurance exchanges?

Obamacare includes a “navigator” program of individuals paid by the government to encourage people to sign up for the exchanges.

A House Oversight Committee hearing from May 21 produced the following exchange with Gary Cohen, the director of the federal center charged with implementing health insurance exchanges under Obamacare:

Representative Paul Gosar: What will a navigator or assister do if an individual reports they are paid under the table?

[Long pause]

Gary Cohen: That’s a good question. I’ll have to think about that, and talk to folks.

That’s not the only good question about the navigator program; the House Oversight Committee sent a letter asking more questions. The Department of Health and Human Services has allocated $54 million to this Obamacare “outreach” effort, and yet the Administration has not answered basic questions, like whether navigators would have to pass a criminal background check. The video demonstrates that Obamacare navigators could end up encouraging tax fraud by failing to report individuals who are paid under the table.

In March 2010, Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. Apparently, three years later, even the people in charge of implementing Obamacare still don’t know what’s in the law, and how it will—or won’t—work.

This post was originally published at The Daily Signal.