“Eight out of 10 American voters oppose across-the-board cuts to Medicare or higher fees for beneficiaries; Strong majority don’t think government is doing enough to address wasteful and fraudulent spending.”
A national survey of registered voters released Friday reveals a large majority of Americans think the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress are capable of preventing the loss of taxpayer dollars to waste, fraud and abuse within Medicare, and they strongly favor real efforts — not campaign promises – to reduce costs through program integrity efforts and tougher enforcement.
According to Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute, experts estimate that “abuses of Medicaid alone eat up at least 10 percent of the program’s total cost nationwide — a waste of $30 billion a year. Unscrupulous doctors billing for over 24 hours per day of procedures, phony companies invoicing for phantom services, pharmacists filling prescriptions for dead patients, home health-care companies demanding payment for treating clients actually in the hospital — on and on the rip-offs go.”
The cheating is brazen because scam artists have figured out that years of lax oversight have made Medicaid easy plunder, according to Malanga.
The General Accountability Office recently reported that Medicare/Medicaid fraud and abuse are responsible for losses totaling upwards of $60 billion per year.
The telephone poll, conducted October 19 and October 20 by Fabrizio, Ward & Associates and Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research among 1,000 voters nation-wide, shows approximately 70 percent of respondents feel the federal government is not doing enough to properly address fraud and favor serious efforts to stop the tens of billions of taxpayer dollars being lost each year to fraud, abuse and waste in Medicare and Medicaid.
“The sentiment of U.S. voters expressed in this recent poll should be no surprise to policymakers,” said Suzanne Mintz, President and CEO of the National Family Caregivers Association.
“No one wants to see dollars line the pockets of criminals. Our lawmakers – particularly members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction –- have an opportunity to effect positive change, without negatively impacting the health and well-being of America’s eldest and most vulnerable citizens,” she said.
According to political strategist Mike Baker, the Democrats routinely accuse of the Republicans of wishing to tinker with Medicare and Medicaid, but they will turn around and reduce Medicare or Medicaid benefits and increase the elderly’s out-of-pocket costs.
“If you want to know what Democrats are planning to do with Medicare, just listen to what they accuse Republicans of doing. It’s the old ‘accuse others of what you do’ strategy,” Baker said.
The poll findings revealed 83 percent of respondents oppose cuts to Medicare and higher fees on beneficiaries -– two key issues under consideration this month by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is attempting to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings from federal programs by the end of the year.