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Funding Health Reform From Savings Associated With Curtailing Waste, Abuse & Fraud?

beforehand lotionWell, I lead a double life but it isn’t out dancing in formal wear!

“There is time for only fleeting thoughts about that dance you’ll attend during off duty hours.”

There isn’t even time for that.

Besides, who attends a dance during on duty hours?

Well, I guess the most important thing is that our hands are “soft, smooth and free from redness” because “your patients like it and your date expects it”.

Oh yeah?

The day they use a hand sanitizer thirty times in a shift and wash their hands another twenty, they can talk to me about soft hands.

********************

My husband won’t watch football with me because I tend to get hyped up and throw things at the TV when I get upset.

That explains why there were Notre Dame pom poms and a Cleveland Browns jersey at the base of the set this weekend.

I also like to talk back at the President when he is speaking on TV. Usually it’s things like “Say WHAT?” or “Give me a break!” “Get. A. Clue!” is usually a good one.  This last speech, the one to Congress about health care, was no exception.  My first comment came a bit into the speech when I noted a few times that “I haven’t heard a single thing I disagree with yet” and “he’s right on that point”.

I was afraid hubby was going to need smelling salts.

But I’m like, “let’s hear how he is going to pay for this…let’s hear him out”.

And then I heard it.

And then he lost me.

*****

There were two comments that I could not let go. I looked them up in the text of the speech to make sure I had heard them correctly.

“…we’ve estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system – a system that is currently full of waste and abuse.”

“The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud…”

Hundreds of billions of dollars? Billions? With a capital “B”?

Waste. Abuse. Fraud.

This means that in order to pay to the proposed health care reform, we have to find enough waste, abuse and fraud to cover expenses.

*****

But I have some questions.

What is the definition of “waste”? To the extent that “waste” means inefficient bureaucratic practices that use up monetary resources, I can get on board with that.

Abuse?  What kind of abuse? Using the system inefficiently, like calling an ambulance for a stubbed toe? Remember, the President is using the term “abuse” to represent a potential income stream for the new system, so it would have to encompass behaviors that spend money that should not be spent.  Money is spent on patient care, so is he talking about patients abusing the system?

And then there’s fraud…

That’s a crime, folks.

Hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud?

The President must think that there are an awful lot of criminals in the health care system.

So what’s my point?

*****

My point is this: funding for the new proposed health care system (see “most of this plan…”, above) is based on finding waste, abuse and fraud.

What happens when all the waste is taken out, all the abusers are stopped, the fraudsters jailed and the system needs more funding? Does that not make it imperative that we keep finding waste and abuse and fraud? Does that not mean that what constitutes waste, abuse and fraud must be constantly expanded to make up for rising costs?

This can’t be good.

I am in total agreement that our system can be streamlined, big time.

And maybe we could find enough money in waste, abuse and fraud to make it pay for itself, but I doubt it.

If we could do that, wouldn’t we have done it already with Medicaid and Medicare? The budgets for both are getting slashed on a regular basis. Drop the waste, abuse and fraud in those programs and then come back and tell me how much better their budgets are.

If  we  can’t do it in an existing government-provided system, how on earth do you expect us to believe it can be done on a larger scale?

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*


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