• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Medicare’s Low Administrative Costs Strike Again

    As we’ve documented before, one of the left’s favorite arguments when pushing for single-payer health care is that, Medicare (a single-payer system) spends a lot less on administrative costs than private insurance does. And it is true: Medicare does spend a lot less on oversight of their many payments. But that lack of oversight comes with its own steep price tag: fraud. In 2006 top Medicare officials claimed they had reduced the number of fraudulent and improper claims paid by the agency. Now we find out that big government medicine lied to us:

    But according to a confidential draft of a federal inspector general’s report, those claims of success, which earned Medicare wide praise from lawmakers, were misleading.

    In calculating the agency’s rate of improper payments, Medicare officials told outside auditors to ignore government policies that would have accurately measured fraud, according to the report. For example, auditors were told not to compare invoices from salespeople against doctors’ records, as required by law, to make sure that medical equipment went to actual patients.

    As a result, Medicare did not detect that more than one-third of spending for wheelchairs, oxygen supplies and other medical equipment in its 2006 fiscal year was improper, according to the report. Based on data in other Medicare reports, that would be about $2.8 billion in improper spending.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Medicare’s Low Administrative Costs Strike Again

    1. Scott says:

      Minor typo: "But that *lack* of oversight" (lack, not like)

    2. Tom - California says:

      My wife had a simple knee operation at a doctor's office and was

      given crutchs which weren't needed because she was taken to our

      car in a wheel chair. I helped her get in the house with out

      crutches. The crutches hang in the garage never used. The cost:

      $37.50. Medical supplies supplied at the doctor's discretion

      can become very costly.

      I suppose Medicare does have guide lines and are basically

      followed. The system is ripe for those who "game" the system.

    3. Bill, indiana says:

      Tom,

      I'm sure your wife might have needed the crutches to transfer or to ambulate longer distances. You or your wife certainly could have said no to the crutches. And you certainly could have returned them! If your surgeon didn't offer your wife crutches and you found yourself in a situation where you needed them, you'd be cursing him the other way. Bottom line it appears that your wife had a great recovery and had a problem free surgery. And your surgeon cared enough to consider all the needs that you might have. I'm so glad that people are cynical enough to think that Doctors spend time to consider ways to "Game the system" they must not be busy enough practicing medicine!

    4. Rob, California says:

      Tom, sure Medicare is "ripe for those who “game” the system". But if you try and tell us this does not happen in the world of private health insurance, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×