Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why do Democrats support $500 billion in Medicare Waste/Fraud/Abuse?

MSNBC's First Read wonders why, if the President can so easily identify over $500 billion in Medicare waste, he hasn't done anything?:

Speaking of health care, how has Obama gone from touting $300 billion in Medicare waste/fraud/abuse savings in June as part of his plan to pay for health care to now claiming the White House has found $500-$600 billion in these savings. The fact is the president still hasn't release a detailed plan in general, let alone gotten into the "how to pay for" weeds when it comes to exactly how they found yet another $200 billion in cuts. This actually gets at the nut of the president's potential credibility problem: If there is so much money in waste/fraud/abuse in the Medicare system, then why do we continue to let it happen? Why are we waiting so long to deal with it? The average cynical voter is thinking, “Well, the president may be well meaning, but the bureaucracy that is the American government let this waste/fraud/abuse happen once, who is to say they won't let it happen again?”

I agree with that sentiment, but I also see this a bit differently.

Obama has claimed that there is over $500 billion being wasted in Medicare. In his speech last Wednesday, he said that he could eliminate this $500 billion in spending without taking a single treatment away from a single Medicare patient.

I think he was lying, which makes me a racist. But let's for the moment assume he was telling the truth. The government is throwing away $500 billion, Obama KNOWS it is happening, he KNOWS how to stop it from happening.

Why hasn't he stopped it already? Most waste/fraud/abuse is because of the law NOT being followed, in which case Obama should be able to stop this without congressional action. So why hasn't he done so? Some might argue it's because he needs to keep the idea as part of the health system takeover plan, but that's wrong. If he actually could show even 10% of that savings now, it would probably win him a dozen republican votes in the house, and a few in the senate.

So maybe it's because he needs a congressional vote. But I can guarantee you that Republicans in the house and senate would show up on a Sunday to vote for a bill that elimated $500 billion in useless spending. So, if Obama is telling the truth, and all we need is a bill, then it must be that the Democrats running congress WANT to waste $500 billion dollars in our medical system.

Of course, it's much easier to believe the most likely truth -- there are no "medicare savings" from waste/fraud/abuse crackdown. Obama might have some idea how to cut payments to doctors and PRETEND it won't hurt the people on Medicare, but it will. The Democrats don't really care if they pay for their bill, they just want to SAY they will pay for it.

But the sad fact is, in this case, deciding the democrats are liars is actually the less critical opinion to have; the alternative is that they just want to waste $500 billion dollars of taxpayer money.

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