Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health Care Reform: Prove it, President Obama

The health care debate rages. I've tried to stay out of it, believing something bad is going to come of it no matter whether I state my opinion or not, but now think I will weigh in with a couple of posts.

I watched President Obama's speech...when was it? A couple of Wednesdays ago, maybe? You know the one, where Representative Joe Wilson shouted "you liar" when Obama said no illegal aliens would be covered. I sat there fairly calm during it, and don't think I once shouted at the television. Though I did give the president some long-distance advice he didn't immediately take.

The thing that struck me most was that Obama said we could pay for most of the increased cost--just under a trillion dollars--with 1) increased efficiencies, 2) eliminating unnecessary treatments, and 3) ending Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Leaving the first two for a moment, who can argue with ending M/M fraud? That would be a good thing, right? I'm all for it. But...


President Obama, do you know how stupid what you said sounds? If you know there is fraud in M/M, why haven't you appointed someone to root it out and end it? Why haven't you made this a priority? Why haven't you used it as a knife in the back of the departing Bush administration to show what a bunch of idiots they were? And if M/M fraud is such a problem that you can't be bothered to do anything about it, why in God's name should we trust your administration--or any administration--with an even bigger hand in health care? Good grief, Mr. President, think about your words.

How much fraud is there in M/M? I'd like to see it quantified in terms of percent of all dollars paid to physicians and care-givers, and in terms of actual dollars per year. I'd like to see some evidence as to why you think this is the correct number to base savings from ended fraud on? How long has this been going on? What are the specific steps that you propose to end the fraud? Who in your administration is handling this? To whom are they accountable? What savings do you expect in year 1, year 2, etc. from the increased fraud prevention efforts that you can implement immediately, without needing to go to Congress?

The answer, of course, is nothing. Obama is not doing anything special about rooting out fraud in M/M. If he were, he would already have been singing about it from the rooftops. He would have been chiding Bush, Cheney, etc. and making political points.

Mr. Obama, prove that the amount of fraud in M/M is enough to make a significant debt in that universal health care proposal of yours by ending fraud right now. Show us the savings. Maybe then I'll have a little trust in you, that you can do what you promise in regards to health care. Do it for the rest of this term. Then let's talk about health care reform.

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