It’s true… Fraud exists in Medicare

The right-wing Cato Institute claims $17 billion annually… dollars they’d rather see going to the Fat Cats that fund their institute and the politicians who make it all happen.

By Jack E. Lohman

My heart goes out to the Cato Institute, with all of its societal conflicts. Excerpt: “Cato was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane and Charles Koch, the billionaire co-owner of Koch Industries known for its financing of the Tea Party and various conservative advocacy organizations. David Koch is currently on Cato’s Board of Directors.”

But they are correct about Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and physicians who receive kickbacks from manufacturers who cause Medicare to pay for their beloved (and expensive) products.

This will happen any time you allow people (doctors, administrators, independent crooks) to send bills to a computer.

And incidentally, such fraud exists in the private healthcare industry as well. We just talk about it less.

But there IS a solution…

And one that will springboard America ahead. It’s called “socialized medicine,” and it need not be government-owned.

  • The government can contract with private (non-profit) hospitals and pay them a fair yearly budget, given all of the normal expenses they would incur. Mandating (of course) that their stats fall into a norm and that they cannot screen out difficult and costly patients. CEO and Executive payment and benefit packages would be kept within a norm. Nothing over $1 million per year (which is 20 times the average salary). And no outside “management fees,” which is today’s gimmick.
  • Doctors should NOT be employed by — or own stock in — hospitals, which is a direct conflict of interest. They should oversee hospital quality rather than the other way around. They should be salaried and not have their income fluctuate with volume or the number of expensive tests ordered or patients admitted. If they are excellent they should have the same income potential as administrators ($1M per year). They MUST divorce themselves of ANY outside income (like commissions or bonuses or professional fees from medical device companies), or thankful or private patients.

Same doctors, same hospitals, same care, just paid differently. By taxes rather than product prices. And it would remove employers from the healthcare decision and costs, and be the best “jobs” bill ever.

Interesting that something similar — single-payer — was kept off the table and activists were arrested for protesting, all because of $125 million in campaign bribes from the insurance and drug and healthcare industries… and we got ObamaCare instead. A system that promises to raise our costs by easily 20%.

And elsewhere!

Cato would have us privatize everything. And the politicians would love that because private companies can give campaign bribes and public entities can’t.

We should … really … wonder whether replacing a bloated government bureaucracy is less costly than spending taxpayer dollars on private company profits. They both result in more jobs, though one could argue that today’s corporate profits often feed the Fat Cat’s wealth without adding jobs. AND, “payola” and waste will likely grow.

But we have one, singular problem: political corruption.

It is our nation’s #1 problem, and if it were only one person giving or taking bribes it would not hurt much.  But ALL of our government’s over-spending of taxpayer dollars is because there are politicians along the way that get a piece of the action. A portion of the over-spending goes directly into their campaign coffers, and politicians who are repeatedly re-elected eventually leave government as millionaires.

And Cato seems not to care.

And easily the politicians could tame the tax system and offshore tax havens and corporate corruption if — and I highlight *IF* — they weren’t getting a piece of the loot.

2 Responses to It’s true… Fraud exists in Medicare

  1. Keith says:

    Jack,
    You are on target and I bet there are tons of physicians who would support this. Just talk to some of the Aurora Physicians. I like it that you call it what it is ‘socialized medicine” there is nothing wrong with that. What do we do next? i mean in addition to getting money out of politics.
    Keith

    • Don’t exactly know, Keith. But it is vitally important that people know two things: (1) fraud exists ALSO in the private system, and (2) even with the Medicare fraud, the costs to the taxpayer are STILL less. But I (personally) have spent little time on the healthcare issue, because no matter what we do it is controlled by politicians who are getting a piece of the action. Getting rid of the political corruption in our system is vital to this and every other costly issue we could discuss.