We’re about to shoot down two Republican myths with a single post. First, the Obama Administration cut Medicare costs by attacking Medicare Fraud instead of attacking benefits. Second, Government can do things, and do them well.
For years, the Republican Party claimed that benefits are the problem. They tried to sell us several versions of coupon care and privatization while claiming that eliminating Medicare was the best way to protect it for future generations.
The Justice Department and Department of Human Services found a way to reduce Medicare costs without reducing benefits, without coupons and without privatizing it. Instead of attacking seniors access to healthcare, they attacked Medicare fraud, otherwise known as the means by which Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott became “a maker” in GOP speak.
According to a report on The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Act Team’s (HEAT) performance released Monday, for the second year in a row, Obama’s plan to attack Medicare Fraud reaped recording breaking results.
The Feds recovered $4.2 billion of taxpayers’ money last year from legal proceedings, settlements and penalties. In 2011, joint efforts to attack Medicare fraud resulted in a record of $4.1 billion dollars. That is compared to the $2.86 billion recovered in 2010 before Obama’s policies to attack Medicare Fraud existed.
In May 2012, Medicare Strike Force teams charged 107 people, including licensed health care professionals in seven cities, who were allegedly involved in schemes involving over $452 million in false billing.
In 2011, the same teams charged 115 people, including health care professionals, companies and executives for suspected participation in Medicare fraud schemes that involved over $240 million in false billing. In another case, 91 suspects were charged for their alleged involvement in a Medicare fraud scheme that involved $290 million + in false billings.
According to the HHS’s press release :
“A key component of HEAT is the Medicare Strike Force – interagency teams of analysts, investigators, and prosecutors who can target emerging or migrating fraud schemes, including fraud by criminals masquerading as healthcare providers or suppliers.”
The Department of HHS attributes success to HEAT and several additional steps President Obama’s Administration took to combat Medicare Fraud – including provisions in Obamacare. That’s the law that Republicans spend almost as much time trying to destroy as they spend on trying to shield the rich from paying taxes.
Aside from establishing tougher sentencing and more jail time for Medicare fraudsters, recovering funds obtained by Medicare fraud is easier. In other words, it reduces Medicare costs without reducing benefits.
When the President told us that Obamacare reduces Medicare costs without touching benefits, he was honest. Thanks to Obamacare, Medicare fraudsters will receive 20 to 50 percent longer sentences for crimes involving more than $1million dollars in lost taxpayer money. It also makes it more difficult for Medicare fraudsters to transfer their scams to another state or between Medicare and Medicaid. Under Obamacare, if Medicare, Medicaid or a State terminates a scammer’s billing privileges, all other states must terminate their billing privileges.
Once again, the Republican Party is on the wrong side of policy. Not only does their policy seek to deny Americans access to healthcare, it also makes the Republican Party soft on crime, namely Medicare Fraud.
If they really want to get rid of their image as the Party of Stupid, defending criminals over seniors isn’t the way to go. Just sayin’.
Ironically, the HEAT report also shows once again that the Republican Party’s fiscal responsibility begins and ends with its rhetoric.
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Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.