You'd think this would be something both parties would agree on. But as with earmarks, someone is getting all those tax dollars. If they belong to favored groups, politiciams who rely on "identy politics" will scream to protect them. And, hey, maybe the 55 guys NY gave maturnity benefits to really were pregnant. If they were taxpayers, Congress is the father. ~Bob
Gingrich and Frogue: Congress Must Eliminate Fraud
By Newt Gingrich and Jim Frogue
Special to Roll Call
Congress is kicking off the most significant health care debate in a generation. Everything must be on the table. Our current system is an expensive, frustrating mess where patients and doctors feel increasingly powerless. Doing more of the same but with bigger subsidies will be as effective as the General Motors bailouts.
While there are major partisan divides over how to permanently restructure our health care system, there is one key area where Democrats and Republicans should be working together: fighting health care fraud. Everyone agrees that fraud should be stopped, and most agree that tackling fraud effectively would yield savings well into the tens of billions of dollars annually. Instead of punishing doctors with lower payments and penalizing patients with reduced access, let’s cut off the crooks.
Last month, Harvard professor Malcolm Sparrow, author of the seminal “License to Steal,” testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that health care fraud and abuse could amount to as much as $500 billion annually. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a physician, believes that a full third of all health spending is wasted on defensive medicine, paperwork and outright fraud. Considering that $2.5 trillion will be spent on health care this year, he is talking about a figure in excess of $800 billion per year.
FedEx and UPS allow customers to track in real time 23 million moving packages every day at no extra charge. That is the modern world. But when it comes to health care, no state can even tell you how many people its Medicaid program supported in 2008. Miami-Dade County has more licensed home health care agencies than the entire state of California. New York Medicaid recently paid for maternity benefits for 55 men, according to Inspector General Jim Sheehan.
There are endless other examples of equal absurdity.
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