Sunday, November 10

An invitation to [more] fraud

While it had a high-sounding motive, at base Obamacare has always been about giving people benefits, either by taxing working people or by simply increasing federal borrowing, which costs all of us.  While this was probably a bad idea from the outset, we're just beginning to discover some of the provisions hidden in the bill that will let deadbeats stiff not just the taxpayer but also doctors and insurance companies.

The following was edited from an article in Reason.
Hidden in the nearly 11,000 pages of the Affordable Care Act is a provision that gives three months of free health care to individuals who simply don't pay their premiums.

People who get a government subsidy for their health insurance will be allowed a three-month “grace period” if they don’t pay their premiums and then simply cancel their policies, stiffing the doctors and hospitals.

Under Section 156.270 of the Affordable Care Act, the insured only has to pay a premium for a single month to qualify for the three-month "grace period." The insurance company must pay the claims during the first month of the grace period; during the second and third month doctors and hospitals are left to collect unpaid bills.
This loophole wasn’t lost on some unnamed individuals who queried the Department of Health and Human Services during an open comment period for the new law in 2011.

While officials at HHS did not respond to requests for comment on this story, they did offer a glimpse into their thinking in a March 27, 2012, item in the Federal Register.

“HHS will continue to explore options for incentivizing appropriate use of the grace period,” the register said.  “HHS will monitor this issue moving forward and will continue to work on the development of policies to prevent misuse of the grace period.”
Isn't that great? The bureaucrats promised to "explore options" and to "monitor this issue" and to "work on development of policies" to prevent fraud. So what was the result?  Nothing. The provision that caused the concern remains unchanged.
Experts say the law will allow people to commit fraud.

“In a sense, it legalizes fraud,” said Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute of Human Exceptionalism and a frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act. “It legalizes putting your burdens on the insurance companies’ shoulders and never paying your premiums. The government wants people to be irresponsible and apparently they want the whole system to descend into chaos.”
Oh c'mon, haters! What's wrong with a little more fraud in gummint programs? I mean, what's an extra ten or hundred-billion in a three-trillion-dollar budget? Or, scuse me, what *would* be a budget if Reid's senate would actually pass one, as required by law.

As more of these little bombshell provisions are brought to light I'm starting to think maybe this notion of giving everyone in the country free healthcare even if they can't afford it may not work like they planned.

Or maybe what we're seeing is exactly what Obama and his Democrats wanted.


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