President Johnson was appalled that our retired citizens had to choose between food, shelter, and healthcare, so he fought against a reluctant Congress to get Medicare established. Since the mid-1960’s, Texans with Medicare benefits have watched the program evolve with the times. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare is the most cost-effective healthcare system in America (public AND private), with only 2% of its budget going to administrative costs.
In spite of its success and popularity, Medicare is now under attack by the incumbent Congress.
“The issue is that once a doctor has written a prescription, Medicare rarely verifies whether the (power) chairs are actually necessary. The problem was crystallized when the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services released this report, finding that industry-wide, 80 percent of Medicare payments for power chairs are made in error, most going to people who don’t need them, or who lack proof they need them. From 2009 to 2012, government auditors found The SCOOTER Store overbilled Medicare by as much as $108 million.”
Source: CBS News
“MIAMI – Federal authorities arrested 30 people, including doctors, and were seeking others in a major Medicare fraud bust Wednesday in New York, Louisiana, Boston and Houston, targeting scams such as “arthritis kits” — expensive braces that many patients never used.
More than 200 agents worked on the $16 million bust that included 12 search warrants at health care businesses and homes across the Houston area, where 27 were arrested.”
Source: FOX News
HR1190 The Independent Payment Advisory Board is responsible for keeping Medicare payments within the budget assigned by Congress. Along with other budgetary monitoring, the IPAB keeps an eye out for no-bid contracts that bypass the free market system of competition and keep prices lower for prescriptions and medical equipment. This should be a no-brainer for Texans interested in balancing the federal budget. Currently, unscrupulous businessmen influence politicians to allow things like thousands of scooters to Texans who didn’t order them, costing taxpayers millions of dollars for unwanted items and investigations for fraud by the FBI. To protect wealthy contributors, politicians have slapped the label “death panel” onto the Board to scare public sentiment up against such efforts to reign in unlimited spending. Ironically, career politicians supporting HR1190 are now part of the actual “death panel” for Medicare.
The bill to kill supervised spending passed the House in 2015 and is currently in the Senate. If unchecked, unlimited, the out-of-control spending of hard earned taxpayer money continues and Medicare coverage for Texans will be at risk.
Congress Cuts Medicare Funding
We need to balance the federal budget, but we don’t need to do it by cutting Medicare. This bill, proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, cuts the Medicare budget and raises the costs Medicare recipients must pay for their healthcare while adding profits to private insurance companies, instead of using Medicare funds to pay doctors and hospitals.
HR 96 forces many Medicare recipients into the private marketplace, where they will be told which doctor they can see and what treatments they are allowed.
Great Product, Poor Follow-Through
HR 4015 was set to pass in Congress with an unusual episode: support from both political parties. But doing so shoved a proverbial poison pill down its throat, and the bill died. The well written bill addressed the problem of legitimately increased yearly payments to doctors and hospitals, which required annual increases in the Medicare budget that were unaccounted for in the overall federal budget. Members of Congress came together and formed a plan that would account for the increased spending – less than what doctors and hospitals wanted each year, but on a predictable level, so they didn’t have to worry about being paid. Additionally, doctors with good quality ratings would get a small bonus for doing a good job. All was going well until Congressman Dave Camp inserted an amendment to the bill that had nothing to do with Medicare. His amendment was aimed at the Affordable Care Act, which was a hot-button issue for Democrats in Congress whose votes were essential for passing the bill. Congressman Camp effectively killed the bill, leaving Medicare weaker.
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