Networks Ignore GAO's Study on ObamaCare Accepting Fake Applications; NBC Touts Enrollment
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Government Accountability Office's investigation of ObamaCare's sign-up process that uncovered that fraudulent documents were able to procure federal health plans and subsidies. On Wednesday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported that "undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants....All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it."
Brian Williams skipped this GAO investigation on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, but set aside 21 seconds of air time to tout the latest enrollment numbers for ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
BRIAN WILLIAMS: In this country, there are new numbers out tonight on the first year of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. Turns out 10.3 million adults gained health coverage during the first open enrollment period. The rate of those uninsured in America fell from 21 percent to about 16 percent.
Williams also continued NBC's blackout of the latest court rulings on the controversial health care law. As of Wednesday, CBS Evening News has also yet to report on two federal appeals courts issuing decisions that both upheld and struck down ObamaCare's health insurance subsidies.
In her report, Goodstein detailed that GAO investigators were "able to procure health plans and federal subsidies for fake applicants with fictitious documents," and that their findings were "evidence of still-imperfect work by specialists intended to assist new insurance customers as well as government contractors hired to verify that coverage and subsidies are legitimate." She continued that "the GAO also pointed to flaws that linger in the marketplace's Web site, HealthCare.gov."
The Washington Post journalist also pointed out the political ramifications of the agency's findings:
...House Republicans were eager for early information because the findings reinforce their contention that the Obama administration set up the health insurance marketplace in ways that leave it vulnerable to fraud and waste of taxpayer money. The allegation that HealthCare.gov does not properly verify the identity and eligibility of consumers has been one of several lines of attack that congressional Republicans have used in trying to discredit the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the way administration officials set it in motion....
Even before the GAO delivered the early findings, the lawmakers were seizing them as fresh ammunition. "We are seeing a trend with Obamacare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud," [Representative Dave] Camp said in a statement. "Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents."
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.