At least $100 Billion wasted every year

The critics of Health Care Reform have a point - its expensive. At least $940 Billion worth of expensive over a 10 year period, maybe more. Sure, almost all of it is off-set by taxes and fees.
But what if I was to tell you that I knew of a way to pay for it, and more, without raising taxes or making any cuts at all?

It sounds too good to be true, right?
And yet its still true. The trick is hidden in a GAO report from three weeks ago that didn't get any media attention.

Improper Payments: Federal entities reported estimates of improper payment amounts that totaled $98.7 billion for fiscal year 2009, which represented about 5 percent of $1.9 trillion of reported outlays for the related programs.

That's nearly $100 Billion in payments that should not have been made, and $26.2 Billion more than last year. Or to put it another way, that's more than one year of the cost of health care reform right there.

But that is a far cry from the real total. If you go to page 251 of this report you will see that the $98.7 Billion number does not include four government agencies, with $89 Billion in outlays, consisting of 11 programs. Five of those programs reported improper payments in fiscal 2008.
These include National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Department of Homeland Security which were "not auditable or were not subjected to audit by agency auditors."

The most serious exception to this report owns 71% of the government's property and equitment - the Department of Defense.

(1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) that have prevented DOD’s financial statements from being auditable,

“It’s not that DOD flunks audits, it’s that DOD’s books cannot be audited. DOD aspires for the position where it flunks an audit.”
- Winslow T. Wheeler, Center for Defense Information

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The Department of Defense's accounting situation is an epic disaster that dwarfs any other area of the government. Perhaps you remember that the day before 9/11, Rumsfeld told the world that the DOD couldn't account for $2.3 Trillion - $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. 25% of its yearly budget simply vanishes into thin air.
Some believe it is corruption.

"The director looked at me and said 'Why do you care about this stuff?' It took me aback, you know? My supervisor asking me why I care about doing a good job," said Minnery.
He was reassigned and says officials then covered up the problem by just writing it off.
"They have to cover it up," he said. "That's where the corruption comes in. They have to cover up the fact that they can't do the job."

“Their systems can’t keep track of who they’ve sold stuff to, who owes them, who they owe.”
- Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service

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Instead of crying about the cost of needed programs, like health care reform, how about crying over unneeded costs, like improper payments and auditing 25% of the Pentagon budget? Surely we can find a way to cut the budget deficit simply by doing a better job of tracking the taxpayer money.
Once we've done that, we can consider the costs of unneeded policies, like useless foreign wars and the billions of dollars that have gone missing there. Funny how people can get excited over much-needed reforms, but not over corruption that no one needs.

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Comments

I agree

With my policy it goes like this. Regardless of just how incompetent, wrong or even dangerous a MD is, if they claim they did "service rendered", they get paid. Then, I have a host of things covered that well, frankly are proven not to work.

Now why isn't nutritional supplements covered, when many of those do work, yet some Big Pharma prescription that doesn't do much of anything but a load of side effects and costs $200/month...get covered.

You cannot even get prices before visiting a Doctor, they will not tell you how much X test, procedure will cost and it gets worse, what they tell you it costs, isn't what it really costs and what the insurance has contracted with them, isn't the same as what they quote you.

There is no way to get a "refund" for bad medical care and then even more ridiculous, the lack of urgent care, after hours so even people with insurance are pushed to the emergency room for things like Bronchitis, and then tagged with a $6k bill when they emergency room might have (after sitting there for hours) prescribed an anti-biotic.

I mean there is so much "stuck on stupid" with medical costs it's unbelievable.

Then, on insurance policies, you cannot buy "ala carte". For example, you may never want mental health of any sort of coverage but what lab work paid for. Nope, can't get that.

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did you see KBR sued?

a minor drop in the bucket, but finally, at least something. KBR sued by U.S. justice:

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleged that KBR knowingly included impermissible costs for private armed security in billings to the U.S. Army covering the 2003-2006 time period, the department said.

No financial amounts that I can find.

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Not Optomistic

Bob, what do you want to bet the prosecution either throws up its hands when KBR drags things out or makes a token offer? These no-bid, cost-plus contracts are riddled with abuses, and I expect the outcome to be KBR losing peanuts on one line item while laughing all the way to the bank on the rest. If AIG is an example of what is possible, what the hell?
Frank T.

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Frank T.

the courts

Not that I want to tout the infamous "tort reform" crud, but it seems proving cases, even when the government pours in billions, they lose. Think Microsoft anti-trust. Then, recently there was a major H-1B fraud case and guess what, the judge threw out (just beyond belief) a host of evidence from the government.

It also seems when it comes to white collar crime or complex crimes, corporate crimes and esp. technical crimes, the courts are like something from the stone age in terms of even understanding what they are looking at. (just my opinion)....

So, to me, they need something here with the legal system to be able to prosecute these cases more easily and stop having judges throw out major portions of a case.

I do think the reason we saw no dollar amounts on KBR is it's trivial.

I haven't kept track with the total theft of the war profiteering/corruption but I thought there was almost a trillion bucks involved? (don't quote me, we need accuracy and I believe Sen. Byron Dorgan has been on this with hearings and evidence?)

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Bush Tax Cuts

Am I reading the chart correctly? The Bush Tax cuts cost 500+ billion a year? A stimulus package is once (or twice) and done but tax cuts are forever. Lets tax capital gains and dividends in the taxpayers bracket. If Obama pulls this off the government neeeds to be in a position to benefit with some revenue enhancement.
Yes not only are Defense and DHS blowing money but many of their employees sit around watching Fox News all day talking like Teabaggers. Fact. The hypocrisy is unfathomable.

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