As far as sly political messaging goes, the the state's Attorney General can surely do better than this.
This morning, Greg Zoeller, the state's AG, issued a public statement to warn consumers against "the risk of phony health insurance scams." There's a danger, apparently, that scam artists might be out there trying to defraud the public "into buying phony health insurance policies by claiming the new federal health care law makes such purchases mandatory now."
Zoeller, as you'll recall, just filed suit against the Federal government along with at least 15 other state attorney generals in attempt to get Obamacare overturned, challenging its constitutionality.
Little surprise, then, the tone of his statement today, in which he said:
“It comes as little surprise that the federal government’s requirement that individuals buy health insurance starting in 2014 would embolden scammers to defraud people into buying it needlessly now.”
As if that weren't transparent enough.... But, ok, maybe this is something of which to be mindful. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and ignore the spin. Right?
Maybe. Because in the very next breath, we have the following:
“The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has not yet received complaints of salespeople pushing dubious or phony health insurance policies onto Hoosiers. But the situation is ripe for fraudsters to sow misunderstandings among the public and then sell them worthless financial products.”
Hear that? We haven't actually seen it in Indiana yet. And there are no indications we will. But never mind. The situation is ripe.
To be fair, apparently the phenomenon has been witnessed elsewhere in the country. According to the AG's press release, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to attorneys general nationwide on Tuesday, alerting states to incidents of "scammers going door-to-door selling phony insurance policies and urging people to obtain coverage during a non-existent 'limited enrollment' period they falsely claim the new law created."
But for the AG's office to take the time to produce a 550-word press release about something we haven't even witnessed in the state of Indiana feels a little disingenuous given the language of Zoeller's opening statement. Before we go blaming as-yet-non-existent-fraud on reforms that haven't even taken place yet, let's not forget that insurance fraud, abuse and — my personal favorite — price-gouging are already a longstanding American tradition.