Forum: Reducing fraud essential to Medicaid reform
May 24, 2012 7:36PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:04AM
I write in response to a recent Associated Press story (“Questions about Illinois Medicaid cuts, pension reforms”) that said there’s little evidence to support my claim that nearly 10 percent of Medicaid spending in Illinois and nationwide could be fraudulent.
There is plenty of evidence to support my contention, at least that’s what a 2010 federal agency report says about Medicaid nationwide.
The Government Accountability Office said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calculated that, on the basis of error rates from a sample of 17 states reviewed on a rotating basis each year, there was an improper Medicaid payment rate of 9.4 percent for fiscal year 2010.
A National Conference of State Legislatures report estimates Medicaid fraud and abuse nationwide to be between 3 and 10 percent and that fraudulent claims cost states billions of dollars each year. In Florida, for example, fraud accounts for up to 20 percent of the Medicaid budget. What do you believe it could be in Illinois with our history of mismanagement, cronyism and corruption?
Medicaid is our state’s largest expenditure, even more than education. A 10 percent savings equates to roughly $1.5 billion in savings.
Eliminating fraud, specifically ineligible recipients, from our Medicaid rolls in Illinois is not only the right thing to do, it helps ensure that those who truly need our care, primarily children and the elderly, get the assistance they need and that our providers are reimbursed in a timely fashion.
State Sen. Kirk W. Dillard
Ricketts mired in hypocrisy
The owners of the Cubs just can’t seem to get their excuses right in trying to defuse their father Joe Ricketts’ $10 million ad campaign to attack President Obama through his Super PAC.
The Ricketts have the right to spend their money any way they see fit, and they have the right to belong to any political party or Super PAC that they want to. This is America after all. But the hypocrisy of their stance not to hinder the taxpayers of this country with more wasteful spending seems to end when it is to their benefit.
The Ricketts want government’s help to renovate Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. They have asked the state and the city for about $200 million to renovate the Triangle Building on Clark Street and add restaurants, a Cubs museum and bars. They want the city to assign a portion of the amusement tax revenue from Cubs tickets to help fund that renovation.
But their demand for public funding does not end there. They are also asking the federal government, the same people they’re blaming for wasteful spending, for a federal subsidy for renovating Wrigley Field.
So we have a billionaire family, who paid close to $900 million to purchase the Cubs, wanting taxpayers, who are already overburdened, to kick in more of their money so the Ricketts can add even more to their billions.