Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, which supports the health care law, didn’t appear concerned about the measure either. “Obamacare is 100 percent intact and there’s nothing about this deal that interferes with that,” Rome said.“If I was the secretary, I would feel comfortable certifying there is a verification program in place,” said Judy Solomon, a health policy analyst at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Everything can continue.”
From the perspective of those who wanted to significantly alter or repeal Obamacare, this fig leaf doesn’t even come close to covering the GOP’s embarrassing political defeat. But on its own merits, it’s actually a good measure, and something Republicans should take some (small) satisfaction in.We’ve read several reports lately about the latent possibilities for fraud in the health care exchanges. Some of these pointed out the ways the exchanges could help fraudsters trick ordinary Americans out of their money: The Hill, for example, reports on fraudulent websites that have masqueraded as the legitimate federal exchange website. This concession won’t do anything to stop fraud like that.However, as Yuval Levin and others have noted, delaying eligibility verification could have opened up tons of opportunities to defraud the federal government and claim unmerited subsidies. The WSJ calculated that fraud of that kind could have cost $250 billion over the next decade. Tightening income requirements won’t close all the loopholes that will add to the cost of the exchanges, but it will help—and if it doesn’t seem like much, at least it’s not nothing.