Friday, October 23, 2009

Read my Lips, No More Fraud and Abuse

To fund Obamacare, the government pledges to "save or create" at least $100 billion each year by eliminating fraud and abuse in the Medicare system. Some estimates put the savings as high as 35%.

And these are the same folks who want to control ALL health care funding for EVERYONE.


The same folks who ran out of money in 2 weeks under the Cars for Clunkers program are now admitting the Cash for New Home Buyers tax credit may have sprung a few leaks.

To spur home sales, Congress decided to provide a tax credit of $8,000 for first time home buyers. Like Cars for Clunkers, the program has performed as promised by spurring home sales over the last few months. This is good news for realtor's, lenders and of course the folks who now are proud owners of a new home courtesy of the American taxpayer.

But Houston, we have a problem.

According to USA Today there are a few folks who applied for the tax credit that were not entitled to the credit.
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George told a House panel that more than 19,000 people filed 2008 tax returns claiming the credit for homes they had not yet purchased. George said his office had identified another $500 million in claims, by some 74,000 taxpayers, where there were indications of prior home ownership.

He told a House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee that they also found 580 taxpayers under the age of 18 who claimed $4 million in first-time home buyer credit. One was 4 years old.

That's 93,580 people who applied for the credit but weren't entitled to it. At $8,000 each that's more than $700 million in bogus tax credits.

Sounds like fraud and abuse to me.
About 1.4 million tax returns have been filed to take advantage of the credit at a cost to the government of about $10 billion.

My calculator indicates roughly 1 out of every 14 returns were fraudulent.

Our friends in Washington are not making a good case for extending the public trust.

Medicare fraud and abuse is 10 - 35% of the total amount spent. The housing tax credit is in its' infancy and they have already identified at least 7% of returns are fraudulent.

What's wrong with this picture?

Of all the finger wagging and charges levied against the health insurance industry, I don't recall one politician charging the industry suffers from waste due to fraud and abuse.

Wonder why?

There is criticism about profits which average 3 - 4% of total premiums and about carriers refusing to issue coverage to people with serious medical problems, but nothing about fraud.

Change you can believe in.
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