Approves Fake Applicants, and It’s Happened Before

An audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that approved health care coverage for 10 fictitious applicants in 2015.

These fake applicants possessed many attributes that one would assume would have denied them from getting coverage. For instance, some of these applicants had Social Security numbers that weren’t even remotely feasible. According to the report:

Four applications used Social Security numbers that, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), have never been issued, such as numbers starting with “000.”

Other applicants already had health coverage, but were still approved by

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the 10 fraudulent applicants were then “approved for subsidized coverage—the premium tax credit, paid in advance, and cost sharing reduction subsidies—for all cases.”

After 8 of the 10 applicants had failed the identity check portion of the application process, they were prompted to contact an outside contractor to complete the identification process. The contractor, however, failed to determine the issues with the applicants’ identity, and the applicants were guided to call their designated marketplace.

The report details:

We proceeded to phone the marketplaces and our applications were subsequently approved.

This comes after another GAO sting audit revealed that similar cases of fraudulence occurred in 2014.

Given that, the Department of Health and Human Services should have learned from its mistakes. Referring to the 2014 applicants, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) testified this July:

The [Obama] administration has known about these problems for over a year now and has apparently not taken the necessary steps to rectify them.

The repeated incidents suggest that perhaps the federal government should not be in charge of our health care system. Our health, after all, should not be taken lightly, and the mistakes we’re seeing now indicate that the current system is not set up to effectively help us look after our personal well-being.

Find out what a better system could look like here.