Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.), the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, yesterday released a Staff Report on the enormous fraud and waste in the Medicare system. The report points out that H.R. 3200, the Democrats’ government-run health care bill that has been reported out of three jurisdictional committees, does not address the systemic failures that facilitate the fraud but replicates these same faulty mechanisms for fraud and waste.
From the report:
“According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), improper payments in the Medicare Fee-for-Service (FSS) and Medicare Advantage programs were estimated to be $17.2 billion for fiscal year 2008,” the report said. “GAO estimates that as much as 10% of overall health care spending is lost to fraud. More troubling, the ‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act’ will apply the same ineffective anti-fraud and abuse protections to the public insurance plan that the Medicare program uses, leaving the door open to the same types of waste and fraud as those currently plaguing Medicare.”
The GAO estimate of “10% of overall health care spending” lost to fraud is a staggering number. According to the report, overall health care spending in the United States in 2007 was $2.2 trillion. (One third of that was government health care spending.) If 10% of overall health care spending is lost to fraud each year, that’s a whopping $220 billion lost in 2007. The FBI estimates are higher, totaling the funds lost to medical fraud each year as high as $280 billion.
“Despite some small proposed tweaks, the public system in H.R. 3200 takes the same weak and ineffective approach to reducing fraud as the Medicare model,” the report concluded. “While private companies have clear profit motivations to reduce fraud, an expanded government controlled health care system run by bureaucrats does not. Expansion of government run health care, based on the Medicare model, threatens to further institutionalize failing anti-fraud provisions and substantially increase the billions of taxpayer dollars lost to fraud and abuse.”
Sen. Reid Calls Town Hall Attendees “Evil-Mongers”
In an interview published yesterday, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called those speaking out against the government takeover of health care at Congressional town hall meetings around the country “evil-mongers.”
Add that to political terrorists, mobsters, Nazis, Astroturf, crazy, brown-shirts and un-American — the other labels applied by Democrat leaders to the majority of their constituencies — and you have a stunning picture of today’s Democrat Party leadership.
It’s not surprising that Reid’s unfavorable rating in his home state of Nevada is hovering around 50 percent. That’s really bad news for the hard left Senate Majority Leader seeking a fifth term.
American People throw Obamacare under the Bus
New numbers out from Fox News/Opinion Dynamics yesterday continue the downward spiral showing the American people overwhelmingly reject Obamacare — and the numbers in opposition keep growing. 34% favor the government takeover of health care while 49% oppose the Democrat plan. The full poll is here (pdf)
In a complete rejection of the radical attack by Democrats on the town hall protesters, a USA Today/Gallup poll released yesterday showed 34% of the 1,000 persons polled on Tuesday said that the protests at the Congressional town hall meetings have made them more sympathetic to the views of the protesters while only 21% say that they are less sympathetic.
In the most revealing number from that poll report, 35% of independents were more sympathetic to the protesters while only 16% were less sympathetic. Independents side with the town hall protesters by a 2-to-1 margin. When a left-leaning news outlet like USA Today reports those kinds of numbers on independents it causes a real conundrum for red state Democrats trying to choose between monetary and organizational re-election support from their far-left national leadership and their ACORN voter registration schemes, or siding with the people they represent in their districts.
President Obama is paying a hefty political price for his health care boondoggle as his own unfavorable numbers sharply increased. In yesterday’s Rasmussen Presidential tracking poll only 47% of voters now approve of the President’s job performance while 52% disapprove. A mere 29% of the nation’s voters strongly approve of Obama’s performance as President, yet 37% strongly disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8. These are historically the lowest numbers from voters that Rasmussen has compiled since they began polling on Obama.
Schlafly Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, a non-profit group that mentors and trains young women for effective leadership on college campuses nationwide, awarded their inaugural lifetime achievement award this week to Phyllis Schlafly, a pioneer of the pro-family movement and the founder of the Eagle Forum. She has been a leader in the conservative movement since as an Illinois housewife she self-published a pro-life book in 1964 entitled “A Choice Not an Echo,” that has since sold over three million copies.
The driving force behind the grassroots movement that waged a 10-year battle to defeat the feminist movement’s Equal Rights Amendment, I asked Mrs. Schlafly at the award event earlier this week about the Chicago-style thuggery being employed by Democrats at the town hall meetings who want to silence opposition.
“I believe Rahm Emanuel is behind this punch back and they’re literally punching back,” Schlafly said.
Schlafly’s new column on the town hall meetings can be found on her Eagle Forum website.
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