A Prescription For Disaster

Wow, I thought that a statement by Nancy-Ann DeParle was clueless and horrific until I read the comments from the resident left on her definition of ‘Public’ Health Insurance.

For those of you unaware, Nancy-Ann Deparle is Obama’s lead for the White House Office of Health Reform. The following is her definition:

A public plan is something that’s sponsored by the government, and therefore has very low or almost nonexistent administrative costs, compared to others. It doesn’t have the need to have brokers out selling; it wouldn’t have the need to have a lot of costs and profits, the way private plans would. So it has that advantage. It could operate by the same rules that all the other plans do; it could have payments rates that are very similar. Or it could have payment rates that are the same as Medicare — that’s one idea that’s been used. So there are various ways of looking at it.

First off, liars should be immediately barred from public office, never again allowed to return. Anybody that looks you in the face and claims that any government program exists in the vacuum of “very low or almost nonexistent administrative costs” should be immediately tarred and feathered.

We need look no further than Medicare to see the fallacy of this bald faced lie. One of the burdens that states must endure is the administrative costs of ever increasing federal encroachment through a myriad of new oversight and “reform” initiatives.

A 2008 report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured found exactly this problem:

States are committed to program integrity, but many report that they are frustrated and concerned about the administrative burdens imposed by federal oversight activities. Program integrity remains a high priority for state Medicaid officials.In 2007 and 2008, states implemented an array of strategies such as increasing staff, creating new organizational units to provide centralized control and coordination, or hiring new contractors aimed at enhancing program integrity. Concerns at the federal level about Medicaid spending, payment policies and program integrity have prompted more intense federal oversight of state Medicaid programs. State officials recognized and agreed with the role of the federal agencies in ensuring fiscal and programmatic integrity in Medicaid. However, they also expressed strong concerns about the administrative burden imposed on states by the new level of federal audits, reviews and other federal efforts to examine the program. State officials also mentioned frustration at new federal interpretations of long-standing, previously approved Medicaid policies which in some cases have had the effect of shifting federal Medicaid costs to the states.

Granted, some costs are the result of new federal guidelines on ID requirements to ensure citizenship but much of the costs are also centered around various licensing requirements, frequent changes in eligibility, training of personnel to keep up with government compliance rules and so on, and so on……

Worse than that however is the sad record of governments that shift the burden of their own ineptitude onto the doctors and subsequently onto the victims of the government’s own malpractice over administration of the program; the people.

Illinois is notorious for corruption in the program. Not that it would matter much because the state hasn’t been paying doctors in any event.

It is quite uncertain how people on the left define success. If they mean a lack of good doctors and shortages of epidemic proportion because they simply can’t get paid efficiently and effectively for accepting Medicaid and Medicare patients then perhaps we should congratulate them for driving doctors away. Job well done.

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