WASHINGTON—When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) promised to “bring in 135 million people into Medicare for All at no cost to them” within 100 days of being inaugurated as president, she was just one of her partys multiple White House aspirants touting dramatic expansion plans for Americas 55-year-old federal health care program.
Warrens proposal, like that of her campaign rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), would require a total reorganization of Americas $3.6 trillion health care system. It would guarantee comprehensive, government-funded and -managed health care, while eliminating private health insurance programs.
Other Democrats, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, would allow private insurers to continue in business, but would set up a single-payer “public option” as an alternative.
Medicare cost taxpayers more than $583 billion in 2019, while Medicaid (including the Childrens Health Insurance Program) added another $399 billion. All of the Democratic presidential candidates plans would require additional spending, with some estimates as high as $38 trillion.
Americans have debated the merits and demerits of Medicare and its Medicaid subsidiary since 1965, but one thing has been clear for decades: Waste, fraud, and inefficiency are hallmarks of government-run medical care.
An Epoch Times review of reports by the Office of Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the period Feb. 20–March 2 found the following headlines:
- Two Connecticut Physicians Pay Over $4.9 Million to Settle False Claims Acts Allegations.
- Sanofi Agrees to Pay $11.85 Million to Resolve Allegations it Paid Medicare Kickbacks Through a Co-Pay Assistance Foundation
- Physician Charged for Alleged Role in $120 Million Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy
- Five Defendants Sentenced in South Florida to Prison Terms for Their Roles in Tricare and Medicare Fraud Scheme
- New York Made Unallowable Payments Totaling More Than $10 Million for Managed Care
That those five examples are illustrative and not outliers is seen in the fact the problem became so pervasive that federal officials were forced in 2007 to create the Medicare Fraud Task Force (MFTF) to combat waste, fraud, and inefficiency in the program. The MFTF includes federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
Since its inception, the MFTF has filed 2,829 indictments and generated nearly $3.5 billion in “investigative receivables,” that is, fines, repayments, and restitutions.
Three years after MFTFs establishment, little progress was seen as CBS News “60 Minutes” reported that Medicare “provides a rich and steady income stream for criminals who are constantly finding new ways to steal a sizeable chunk of the half-trillion dollars that are paid out each year in Medicare benefits. In fact, Medicare fraud—estimated now to total about $60 billion a year—has become one of, if not the most, profitable crimes in America.”
And the Medicare crime wave goes on.
Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and member of the Maryland Health Care Commission, is a former deputy assistant secretary for legislation at HHS, where he wrestled with the major problems afflicting Medicare and Medicaid.
Asked March 4 by The Epoch Times about the endemic corruption in the program, he pointed to three factors:
“First, Medicare (and Medicaid to a lesser extent) is the largest payer in the American health care system. So it is a natural target of the criminal element.
“Second, the Medicare paymeRead More – Source