Government

What if government ran your business … or your health care?

It is easy to find examples of inefficiency, fraud and waste in just about anything government does. I doubt many people will disagree. Here is a recent example. Medicare is another. In that case you can find GAO reports going back decades noting the flaws in its claim system and still fraud is rampant. 

Of course, the root cause of all that fraud is some citizens trying to cheat the system. That includes health care providers and indifferent patients. The very fact the money is coming from “government” creates a nobody gets hurt mentality in some people. The size of the bureaucracy and the transient nature of senior administrators doesn’t help either. Actually, on a daily basis hardly anybody cares. If you have a profit motive, if your job is at risk, you care. If you work for government burried in the bureaucracy, your caring is diluted at best. 

Decades ago I had a contract with HHS to write a small book on HMOs. I wrote the draft and submitted it. They had many comments. I met with them, noted the comments and reworked the book several times. I resubmitted the text and never heard a word from HHS ever again… but a couple of months later the payment arrived. I don’t think you got your money’s worth for that $10,000. 

All the endless examples, and yet many people remain convinced Medicare-for-all or a public option in Obamacare will save money. That’s like a student claiming his education was affordable … after he defaulted on loans or had them forgiven. 

And much of this is in the accounting as well. Claims by government, politicians and many on the left use a funny math logic. Have you heard Social Security is generating a surplus? Or, there are plenty of assets in the Trust? Do you recall that Medicare has very low administrative costs? Ever wonder why?

Last week the Health and HuĀ­man SerĀ­vices DeĀ­partĀ­ment pubĀ­lished an ā€œalertā€ warnĀ­ing that the imĀ­proper payĀ­ment rate for MedĀ­icaid in 2016 will likely hit 11.5%. Thatā€™s nearly douĀ­ble the 5.8% rate as reĀ­cently as 2013, and HHS helpĀ­fully suggested tools that these joint state-fedĀ­eral inĀ­surance proĀ­grams supĀ­posedly for the poor could use to stop squanĀ­derĀ­ing more than one of 10 dolĀ­lars they spend…

ImĀ­proper payĀ­ments ocĀ­cur as the reĀ­sult of fraud, overĀ­billing by docĀ­tors and esĀ­peĀ­cially home health agenĀ­cies, buĀ­reauĀ­cratic erĀ­ror and many other reaĀ­sons, but also a lack of due diligence by HHS…

In reĀ­cent auĀ­dits of MedĀ­icaid in AriĀ­zona, FlorĀ­ida, MiĀ­chigan and New JerĀ­sey, the GAO unĀ­covĀ­ered 50 dead people who reĀ­couped at least $9.6 milĀ­lion in benĀ­eĀ­fits afĀ­ter they died; 47 providers who regĀ­isĀ­tered forĀ­eign adĀ­dresses as their loĀ­caĀ­tion of serĀ­vice in places such as Saudi AraĀ­bia; and $448 milĀ­lion beĀ­stowed on 199,000 benĀ­eĀ­fiĀ­ciaĀ­ries with fake SoĀ­cial SeĀ­cuĀ­rity numĀ­bersā€”12,500 of which had never been isĀ­sued by the SoĀ­cial SeĀ­cuĀ­rity AdĀ­minĀ­istraĀ­tion.

Source: ObamaCareā€™s ā€˜Improperā€™ Failure, Wall Street Journal 9-7-16

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