‘Business as usual’ won’t curb Medicare abuses
An expert on taxation says Congress and the executive branch need to be doing a better job at reigning in overbilling – especially Medicare Advantage overbilling.
New information from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds private Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly overbilled the federal government by billions of dollars. Even so, not much has been done to combat the problem, let alone make providers repay the funds. In fact, NPR has been following this issue and reported in 2015 that the government knew about this problem years ago.
“Unfortunately, many portions of Medicare suffer from problems with waste, fraud, and abuse as well as improper payments – and depending on the type of Medicare plan being offered, there needs to be a different response to recover the money for taxpayers,” says Pete Sepp of National Taxpayers Union.
“It’s not been working well enough with these Medicare Advantage plans, and both Congress and the executive branch have got to do a better job.”
Therein lies the problem, he adds. This is not the first GAO audit finding waste, fraud, and abuse of any sort, and unless something changes, it will not be the last. Why then isn’t anything being done?
“One of the problems with GAO reports and inspector general reports – the whole alphabet soup of investigative reports – is that so much of it is Washington, DC, theater,” Sepp responds. “Members of Congress have something to wave around and yell about, the administrators admit a mea culpa, and then everyone goes on with business as usual. It’s going to take a much tougher disciplined and consistent attitude to root out these problems.”
Sepp acknowledges some progress through legislation and executive branch action to try and root out some of the worst improper payments in Medicare, but he says the problem is the structure of the program itself.
Citizens may not be the most responsible people when it comes to these problems occurring, but Sepp says they are sets of eyes and ears who can direct federal officials and make them detect the problem sooner.
Written by Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)