GAO Highlights Severe Security Lapses in

GAO Highlights Severe Security Lapses in

Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigators last year managed to enroll 11 completely fake people onto the government’s website. This year, the 11 “people” were promptly re-enrolled automatically by the site. Worrying as this is, even more so was that some of the 11 were given significant increases in their subsidies. At a later date, 6 of the imaginary 11 were identified as possibly incorrect applications. GAO investigators promptly called the respective customer service centers and 5 of the 6 were duly reinstated. And yes, you’re right, they were then given even more increased subsidies straight from taxpayers’ pockets.

The GAO’s Audits & Investigations Chief, Seto Bagdoyan, later stated the website had severe problems when it came to detecting fraudulent applications. The website itself, and therefore the entire system, is reliant on the contracted personnel employed in the “document-verification process.” These personnel have received no training whatsoever in performing “antifraud duties,” so basically the system is open to bogus applications, which aren’t detected because no-one’s looking for them. The healthcare subsidies themselves are paid directly to the insurance companies involved, so individual fraud is not the issue. In other words, a false application will not result in money being paid into an individual’s account. Yet the opportunity to commit fraud is still there; family healthcare costs can cost up to $17,000 each year.

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