Dear General Bondi,
I've got to give you props. You're persistent.
Like that unbelieving Japanese soldier found years after his country lost the big war but conquered the world with automobiles, you won't go down without a fight. The Affordable Care Act is now an American fixture, but the war against Obamacare seems still worth waging.
First it was the legal challenge that produced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that validated much of the president's signature health care law. Undaunted, you stayed viligant, eagerly calling for repeal while stewing over the role of Chief Justice John Roberts and what might have been.
I'm not foolish enough to try to talk you into accepting the law of the land as reality. You've been in the fog of war much too long for that. What I'd hope to accomplish is for you to do your job and look into an unfortunate outgrowth of the health-care law — fraud.
Slow your roll. I don't mean those imagined hijinks that play well with the fringe. I'm talking about real criminal acts committed by bamboozlers, con-men, crooks, ripoff-artists, scammers, swindlers and a host of other ne'er-do-wells stealing in the name of health-care reform.
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 1,000 complaints about scams popping up across the country that were connected to changes in health care, and that was back in May, long before the government shut down and healthcare marketplace websites went up.
As a former prosecutor and now attorney general, you know the creative mind of the criminal class, and as a Floridian, I'm sure you appreciate our state's ability to do fraud. Scams here are pretty much an art from. A New Yorker article once described us as 'The Ponzi State.'
Mortgage fraud, timeshare re-sale schemes, now health insurance scams — when Florida puts its mind to ripping people off, we can defraud with the best of them.
Already there are warnings of con-artists pushing the "Obamacare Card," a bogus ID tailor-made for the gullible. There's the laminated Medicare health-care card scam rip-off artists are pushing even though the vast majority of Medicare recipients aren't affected by Obamacare.
An even doozier scam involves phone calls, e-mails and text messages from rip-off artists who warn anyone willing to give these con artists the time of day that they could be arrested for not having health coverage. The IRS may fine you, but the cops won't be arresting the uninsured.
And how can I forget the imposters posing as navigators or government officials who ask for personal information, or the fake salespeople pressuring individuals to buy insurance?
Jeff Atwater, the state's chief financial officer, already sounded the alarm. Last month, his office put out a bulletin warning consumers to watch out for scammers who are using the health reform law to swindle Floridians.
Fortunately, you've got more tools than a bulletin.
You've got the law and law enforcement. It's high time you used it.
The Sunshine State is the ideal place for health care scams. Florida has the second highest number of uninsured, and the new health care law is, like most insurance, confusing. Shysters love that.
So, let's generate a few cases and enough justice to make the swindlers think twice about doing business here.
The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. In fact, the law is actually gaining support in recent polls, despite its glitch-filled rollout and the loud opposition for an unlikely repeal.
So, how about putting those crimes committed in the name of the Affordable Care Act right up there with human trafficking, pill mills and your office's other priorities. You can still rail against Obamacare, but that shouldn't stop you from doing your job of protecting Floridians.
A Concerned Columnist