Liberals who defend Obamacare used to point to the VA as an example of how the government could provide universal health coverage just dandy. Well, that talking point has rather disappeared down an Orwellian memory hole.
Another favorite talking point was that the government’s low administrative costs for Medicare proved that private insurance, with their higher overhead, were inefficient profiteering price gougers, etc. That was one reason for Obamacare’s mandate that insurance companies had to deliver at least 80 percent of premiums in health services.
That’s why I’m surprised the front page story in last Saturday’s New York Times hasn’t made a bigger splash: “Pervasive Medicare Fraud Proves Hard to Stop.” How much fraud? The story reports that it is as much as $60 billion a year. That’s 60 with B. A one with nine zeros after it. Times sixty. (As Sterling Archer might explain the math.)
Fraud and systematic overcharging are estimated at roughly $60 billion, or 10 percent, of Medicare’s costs every year, but the administration recovered only about $4.3 billion last year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is responsible for overseeing the effort, manually reviews just three million of the estimated 1.2 billion claims it receives each year.
Turns out it’s really easy to keep your administrative costs low if you have a system that allows $60 billion a year in fraud and overbilling. Why haven’t Aetna and Blue Cross thought of this?
And now the final Jeopardy question: anyone think there might be a similar problem with fraud in Food Stamps, Medicaid, unemployment, disability, and so forth? Wait, I forgot; you’re a racist if you ask this.