Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Universal Healthcare: A Bad Idea Whose Time has Come

So those of you that think it would be a good idea for our government to

  1. Determine the appropriate level of treatment for whatever ails you
  2. Manage the resources and professionals that provide that care
  3. Replace what could be an open market for health insurance with a government monopoly
  4. Manage the finances of our nation's entire health care system
Read this (and remember, this is your money; taxpayer means [some] of you):

Every politician moans that entitlement spending is out of control, so it ought to be easy at least to stop blatant fraud and abuse. Evidently not: Congress is currently resisting an attempt to rein in even a Big Con that everyone acknowledges.

The scene of this crime is Medicaid, the open-ended program that provides health coverage for about 59 million low-income people, with the rolls expanding every year. States determine eligibility and what services to cover, and the feds pick up at least half the tab, though the effective "matching rate" is as high as 83%. Now it turns out that states have been goosing their financing arrangements to maximize their federal payouts and dump more of their costs onto taxpayers nationwide.

The swindle works like this: A state overpays state-run health-care providers, such as county hospitals or nursing homes, for Medicaid benefits far in excess of its typical rates. Then the federal government reimburses the state for "half" of the inflated bills. Once the state bags the extra matching funds, the hospital is required to rebate the extra money it received at the scam's outset. Cash thus makes a round trip from states to providers and back to the states – all to dupe Washington.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

A friend of mine left a geriatrics clinic in Tennessee because of this. Sad stuff.