An audit of Healthcare.gov by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has revealed more problems with how the website has operated. Considering all the problems that have been found thus far, this should hardly be surprising, but what has been discovered this time is nevertheless disturbing. Apparently, Healthcare.gov has failed to verify the information submitted by applicants, including citizenship status, and failed to correct these errors when they were pointed out. From the Washington Free Beacon:
The IG found that the internal controls did not always correctly verify Social Security numbers, citizenship status, annual household income, and family size information to determine eligibility.
One applicant understated her income by $7,000. According to the IG, the marketplace should have compared this income data to available electronic data sources and realized that the applicant’s income was more than 10 percent below the income listed on these data sources. Then, the marketplace should have asked the applicant for additional evidence of income.
Instead, this applicant was not only verified, but was approved to receive the advance premium tax credit.
Another example of weak internal controls was found in efforts to verify citizenship status. The marketplace did not always verify this information through the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, as was required.
The IG found that not only were there problems with internal controls, but once discrepancies were found, they were not handled properly.
In one case, an applicant who had a discrepancy related to his citizenship status was approved after the marketplace accepted the applicant’s birth certificate without obtaining a second document.
Among some on the Left, the issues with Social Security Numbers and citizenship status probably qualify more as features than bugs, but for the rest of us, these problems with the Obamacare website have become so commonplace that we are almost numb to them. However, it should be vitally important that any government program verify that the people applying for it a legal residents who are giving accurate information to the system. These examples prove yet again the multitude of problems created when government tries to interfere in the marketplace, particularly on such a massive level as this, and sadly, the fixes offered will probably only be for show.
There is a temptation to say that the fight over Obamacare is over now that the Supreme Court has twice upheld the law, but it’s news like this that should remind us why the law still needs to be repealed and replaced with a market oriented system. Government bureaucracy is too large, expensive, inefficient, and unaccountable to even try to run the healthcare sector of our economy. We still need to keep the issue at the forefront of our agendas in 2016.