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Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare

Even after the open enrollment deadline, remained a popular destination.
J. David Ake
Even after the open enrollment deadline, remained a popular destination.

House Republicans went on the attack Wednesday over what they say is the latest bungling of the Affordable Care Act: fake identities used to get insurance.

Undercover investigators were able to get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance from the government's website 11 out of the 18 times they tried, according to a preliminary report from the Government Accountability Office.

Republicans on the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee say fraud and abuse will be rampant and may already be.

Democrats question all the fuss.

For one thing, they argue applicants don't get anything out of faking their identities other than receiving health insurance, which they could do just as easily with their own identities.

Second, any extra government subsidies that are given out because applicants claim they are poorer than they actually are would go to the insurance companies, not the applicants. Committee Democrats say most Americans are unlikely to lie on forms so insurance companies can benefit.

And finally, every applicant, fake or not, still has to pay the monthly premiums to keep the insurance.

House Republicans have voted more than four dozen times to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats at the hearing acknowledged there are problems with the law, but countered that it is now providing 15 million Americans with health insurance.

The GAO's final report is expected in a few months.

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Laura Sullivan is an NPR News investigative correspondent whose work has cast a light on some of the country's most significant issues.