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Saint Paul, MN
#87 Jul 18, 2010
I bet if you take a closer look you'd find that the basic reason the system cannot track fraud effectively is due to recipient rights that protect them from timely, if at all, detection. I do believe we do need a public safety net of financial aid for those truly undergoing hardship. Rent, basic utilities, and food costs can overcome a Walmart type job earning capacity.
But I also just as strongly believe that taxpayer money deserves judicious dispensation that reflects a primary goal of responsible use. And program standards--whether it's the social service arena, the DNR, or business etc.--should be governed by regulations that require clear accountability on the part of both the government agency and the recipient that is under watchdog scrutiny.
In this case, we've seen news accounts mentioning how EBT transactions from Minnesota accounts show up with routine regularity in other states. Obviously that indicates fraud and a non-MN residence. The capacity to track EBT expenditures could easily be used as an anti-fraud feature if we had the balls to insist that MN issued EBT cards be spent in this state only, or perhaps give like a 2x/year exception rate to account for travel for a family funeral etc. That would not be inhumane, but you can bet there would be an outcry should it be raised as a legislative item. That's bogus.
And why not re-institute the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of years past for the currently long-term unemployed and welfare recipients? We'd then see gains for the tax payer funds dispensed, folks would expand their work skills, create a work history to better support future employment chances, and give them a sense of pride. Travel around this country and you'll see wonderful examples of the WPA program accomplishments.
The inability of any political party to make themselves accountable for the honesty and integrity that taxpayer funds deserve is a sad statement for our country. Yes, that includes Republican, because the legislation lined with "pork" occurs constantly, and under both mainstream party political banners. If the average working joe fully understood the tax-free benefits and funds allowed big business for marketing purposes that includes quite a bit of alcohol-infused partying, travel perks etc that their tax monies support, they would be sick. A close relative is a marketing executive with a large local company, and the examples I have seen of this in play through his career are ridiculous. And then there's the large companies that take in US tax money funded grants or other subsidies when they have all their business money set up as off shore accounts so they themselves pay ZERO US taxes. Sure, they provide employment opportunities so their workers pay taxes, but that shouldn't let them off the hook. If you set your company up to avoid US taxes, then you should not have access to taxpayer funded subsidies.
There is SOOOO much we could do in this country to make the tax dollars that are already out there more effective by cutting out all manners of theft, whether legislated, sweet heart deals, or welfare benefit misuse. That should be the one under discussion before raising taxes that affect the private individual taxpayer is considered!
#88 Jul 18, 2010
Health care reform has been passed. If you think we've seen theft of these programs in the past - just wait until bills are submitted to the government for health care of it's citizens.
Saint Paul, MN
#89 Jul 18, 2010
There has been coverage in the paper this week regarding recent ($251 million worth of fraud) national stings to catch corrupt MDs or other practitioners who are paying seniors for (Medicare) access to their SS numbers for false billing purposes. This has been an on-going billing fraud issue for Medicare that hits an estimated 60-90 billion a year. My hope would be that they are also prosecuting the seniors who knowingly and routinely participated as a deterrent measure, but you gotta figure the sappy sentiment will be to let the grandparent crowd off the hook.
South Florida is supposed to be a huge source of Medicare fraud. That implicates Florida's oversight processes as the medical profession and medical supply companies should have some state level licensing and legal scrutiny to supplement the federal goal of fraud prevention.
We had a local case several years back of a St. Louis Park chiropractor who was using the same tactic for some time of paying off folks by having them claim car accident injuries and then billing their various car insurance companies for the supposed long term therapy regime. In that instance he targeted Hmong clients and then paid them bonuses to refer others for the easy money pay-offs. Then there was the local channel news team that caught all those (mainly white--greed has no racial or ethnic boundaries!) firemen on permanent disability busily engaged in vigorous physical daily activities, including vacationing volleyball games on Hawaiian beaches.
I'm sure disability insurance is a huge source of fraud for public and private employers. Had a neighbor who worked for Xcel and was home several times a year for his back--but it never seemed to affect his usual yard work etc. routines. He was (conversations) always happy to have the additional time off.
Insurance fraud hits across the board of government or private insurers. But it would be interesting if some reputable news agency did an investigation to compare methods and rates on how government medical fraud is monitored and detected vs private companies. The policies differences that are effective should then be implemented overall.
According to this week's article on the Medicare fraud stings, there was legislation included in the Obama healthcare bill that permitted them better oversight/investigation access which resulted in this current batch of arrests. The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT--combines federal dept of justice and dept. of human services folks in this focus) was a part of that legislation, and is credited with this week's sweep in 5 cities.
Although it is a stated goal of Obama's administration to push harder on medical fraud as a way in which to divert misused funds toward legitimate medical costs under this new healthcare agenda, it'd still be interesting to see which politicians contributed vs objected to the specific healthcare bill wording related to the anti-fraud goal. No question we'll see fraud under this new healthcare package--it won't be some miraculous exception.
#90 Jul 19, 2010
I sure hope what you've written above enlightens people. For some reason, anything the government runs is full of fraud - yet health insurance companies have not had the same problems. You can barely get government employees to do their jobs, let alone give a rip about the fraud they see on a daily basis and do something about it. It's the very reason government should not have their mitts in health care. We'll lose all our health care dollars to fraud and be left with no health care at all. Fraud is only part of what will eat up our health care dollars. We have a very greedy federal government who will get their mitts on that money as well. Look at what they've done to Social Security. They've stolen Social Security blind. Instead of replacing the money in Social Security, they tell us it is broke. Politicians have no shame.
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