In a weird confluence of the nation's two most pressing issues -- Obamacare and our insane immigration laws -- this week we found out that the tens of thousands of "navigators" hired by the government to enroll people in Obamacare will include convicted felons.
Despite some "navigators" having already been exposed as having arrest warrants against them, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has no plans to screen out the criminals. (But rest assured: If your identity is stolen as a result of trying to sign up for Obamacare, no one will be more upset about it than President Obama.)
Maybe it's a blessing that the Obamacare website has crashed more often than the Soviet Union's commercial air fleet did.
In addition to convicted felons, navigators are drawn from labor unions, community organizers, former ACORN staffers and front-groups for the Democratic National Committee.
Call right up and give all your private financial and medical information to those guys! What could go wrong? (Before Obamacare was even online, Minnesota's health exchange emailed the Social Security numbers and other identifying information for about 2,400 Americans to a man applying to be a "navigator.")
If you call today, you can sign up for Obamacare plus learn about a Nigerian prince in exile who's willing to share his vast inheritance with you in exchange for your bank account numbers.
Which reminds me, federal health insurance programs have long been a prime target for scammers and con artists.
To much fanfare, in 2006 Medicare announced that only 7 percent of its payments were a result of fraud. Two years later, The New York Times reported that it was actually 31.5 percent -- and that Medicare had aggressively hidden the fraud from outside auditors.
Do you think a privately run insurance company would take three years to notice that one-third of its payouts had been obtained by fraud? But with federal programs, there's a powerful incentive not to look for fraud. That would merely vindicate critics of big government!
In 2012, Medicare's crack investigators noticed that more than a billion dollars in home health care payments for 2008 had gone to one single county in Florida -- more than all such payments made to the rest of the entire country.
Do you think it would take five years for a private insurer to figure out it had been scammed out of $1 billion by a few health care professionals in one county? Anyone else would notice being stolen from, but not the government. It's not their money.
Wherever there's a government program, there's a gigantic opportunity for criminals. A staggering percentage of the health care workers scamming Medicare and Medicaid are foreign-born -- much higher than their numbers in the medical profession generally.
Thus, in the Department of Justice's most recent press releases about criminal convictions for Medicare and Medicaid fraud against the taxpayer -- solely for the four-day period ending Nov. 7 -- we have:
-- Nov. 7, 2013:
Mehran Javidan, owner of Acure, a home health care company in Oak Park, Mich., was paid more than $2.2 million from Medicare based on fraudulent physical therapy files he submitted between December 2008 and November 2010.
-- Nov. 7, 2013:
Javed Rehman, Tausif Rahman and Muhammad Ahmad -- no relation to the Tsarneav brothers -- fraudulently obtained Medicare beneficiary information to bill Medicare for home health services, swindling approximately $13.8 million from Medicare.
-- Nov. 7, 2013:
Eliza Lozano Lumbreras, San Juanita Gallegos Lozano, Manuel Anthony Puig and Romelia Puig used their operation of the Mission Clinic and La Hacienda Family Clinic to submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid, stealing approximately half a million dollars from the taxpayers between 2001 and 2006.
-- Nov. 6, 2013:
Karen Kallen-Zury, Daisy Miller and Christian Coloma were convicted for receiving approximately $40 million from Medicare for patients not eligible for psychiatric treatment because they were not severely mentally ill.
-- Nov. 6, 2013:
Jose Rojo, Antonio Macli, Jorge Macli and Sandra Huarte in Miami paid patient recruiters to refer ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to their clinic for services that were never provided. They were paid more than $11 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.
-- Nov. 4, 2013:
Godwin Umotong, Leslie Omagbemi, Munda Massaquoi, Comfort Gates, Ovsanna Agopian and Boghos Babadjanian were convicted of fraudulently billing Medicare of millions of dollars for office visits and diagnostic tests that were never performed, more than $1.3 million of which Medicare paid.
-- Nov. 4, 2013:
William Dale Sidener was convicted of submitting fraudulent bills to Medicare and receiving $4,677.00 in payments for services not performed.
These are Eric Holder's press releases, not mine.
Do you notice anything that stands out about the list of convicts? Would any of their names have sounded strange to Ben Franklin? Of 22 people convicted of defrauding American taxpayers by fraudulently billing Medicare or Medicaid, at least 17 have almost comically foreign names.
None of the scammers should be foreigners! We can't do anything about our native-born crooks, but why are we importing them?
Enormous, unwieldy corrupt government programs run by arrogant bureaucrats would be bad enough in 1950. But after decades of our Third World-only immigration policies, one can't help noticing that Medicare and Medicaid are beckoning Disneylands for foreign-born thieves.
The problem isn't their complexion, it's their culture. In America, we think only dumb people become criminals. That's not true in the Third World!
Nigeria, for example, leads the world in criminal enterprises. Every level of Nigerian society is criminal, with the smart ones running Internet scams, the mid-range ones running car theft rings, and the stupid ones engaging in piracy and kidnapping. At the University of Lagos, you can major in credit card fraud.
There were almost no Nigerians in the United States until the 1970s. Today, there are nearly 250,000 Nigerians in the U.S. (committing the cyber-crime Americans just won't do!). In 2011, we took in more immigrants from Nigeria than from the United Kingdom (9,246 from the U.K. and 9,344 from Nigeria).
Of course, Obamacare never would have passed without decades of massive immigration from the Third World. Liberals didn't change any minds -- they changed the voters. In order to pass Obamacare, Democrats had to bring in the Third World to vote Democratic.
The downside is that the country is now chock-full of people who come from cultures where criminality and government corruption is a way of life -- at the very moment that the country is expanding a government-run health insurance program already shot through with fraud and abuse.
Only confiscatory tax rates can support such a system.
Gosh, I sure hope our new Somali and Nigerian immigrants have German-style rectitude and are very honest about reporting all their income to the government.