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Monday, October 8, 2012

David Brooks, "The Policy Verdict I": No Mention of Medicare Fraud

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Policy Verdict I" (, David Brooks observes that Medicare is bleeding the US white:

"Today, Medicare costs about $550 billion. By 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it will cost more than $1 trillion, sucking money away from every other government program."

Regarding Obamacare, Brooks notes that "no one outside the employ of the president believes this approach will reduce Medicare costs." On the other hand, he believes that the Romney-Ryan market-based approach to the health care problem, allowing recipients to choose among competing insurance options, "might work."

In examining remedies for America's health care ills, Brooks, however, fails to mention the possibility of aggressively combating Medicare fraud, which costs the US some $60 billion annually. It would not be difficult to tackle this problem.

Computerized programs, adapted to standardized treatment for specific medical conditions, would have little difficulty pointing to anomalies. The system could be up and running in months.

In addition, penalties for Medicare fraud could be stiffened, causing those with thoughts of bilking the system to reconsider the consequences of their actions.

In short, it is remarkable how both Obama and Romney have ignored this "fix," which does not cure the problem in its entirety, but certainly deserves immediate implementation.

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