Many politicians use the prospect of increased fraud as a reason to vote against particular legislation. That argument has been used here in Alabama to prevent improvements in health care coverage and ease of voting.
The Affordable Care Act allows states to expand their Medicaid coverage (health insurance for poor people) and have the federal government bear most of the expense. Studies show that adopting Medicaid Expansion can save rural hospitals (like DeKalb County Medical Center) and provide health insurance for an additional 250,000-300,000 poor people in Alabama. Those against this expansion claim it will increase fraud. So, during a pandemic, we should leave hundreds of thousands with no health coverage because a few greedy providers might commit fraud? No. Go after those providers.
Mail-in voting has been damned as a cause of fraud. Alabama has long had a mail-in ballot program: absentee voting. Because of the pandemic, everyone could choose to vote absentee last November. That resulted in a 357% increase in mail-in ballots. But no one claimed voter fraud in Alabama; those claims were only made in states where the previous president lost.
There are many ways we could make it easier for people to vote in Alabama, thus increasing people’s participation in democracy. The most insidious form of voter suppression is to make it harder for people to vote. Despite little evidence of increased voter fraud, many claim we need to tighten voting restrictions to avoid fraud. But democracy works best when more people are allowed to vote.
While the former president rants about massive voter fraud, not one of the more than sixty election-related lawsuits filed on his behalf claimed fraud. Why? Because an attorney can be disbarred for filing a claim in court that they know to be false. Although Giuliani repeatedly claimed massive fraud in public, he never filed a claim of fraud in court. In fact, one judge specifically asked him if he was claiming fraud. His answer was no.
Consider this: Any program that helps people is subject to fraud. If potential fraud is a reason to not implement a program, then Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and FEMA would never have passed. It doesn’t make sense to deny help simply because some people might misuse that help. Why not address the fraud itself instead?
Claiming fraud is often the argument used when there is no valid argument available.
Tobey Miller, Fort Payne, Alabama
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