When Democratic officeholders warn of the likely disasters lurking in Obamacare, we should listen. There aren’t many of them, yet they generally know what they are talking about on this subject and have no apparent partisan motive to shade the facts. The case of Max Baucus comes to mind. Surely there must be another.
With the recent regulatory declaration that the state exchanges need not verify income information for Obamacare subsidies, the Obamacrats opened up a huge potential for fraud that will most assuredly be exploited. We noted it in “An invitation to fraud” and, thinking of Nabokov, in “Invitation to a defrauding.” I’m not aware of any Democrat who has acknowledged the problem, let alone expressed a heterodox thought about it. Some kind of taboo is operating here. They don’t want to do anything to keep the train from leaving the station.
Now comes the Democratic Insurance Commissioner of California to raise a red flag regarding the potential ripoffs, not of taxpayers generally, but rather of Obamacare exchange consumers specifically. The AP reports:
As California prepares to launch its health care exchange, consumer groups are worried the uninsured could fall victim to fraud, identity theft or other crimes at the hands of some of the very people who are supposed to help them enroll.
The exchange, known as Covered California, recently adopted rules for a network of more than 21,000 enrollment counselors who will provide consumers with in-person assistance as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. In some cases, they will have access to personal and financial information, from ID cards to medical histories.
But the state insurance commissioner and anti-fraud groups say the exchange is falling short in ensuring that the people hired as counselors are adequately screened and monitored.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones also said the exchange does not have a plan for investigating any complaints that might arise once the counselors start work. That means consumers who might fall prey to bogus health care products, identity theft and other abuses will have a hard time seeking justice if unscrupulous counselors get hold of their Social Security number, bank accounts, health records or other private information, he said.
“We can have a real disaster on our hands,” Jones, a Democrat, said in an interview.
Glenn Reynolds rightly comments: “Oh, we already do.”