You remember the Obama stimulus package, more formally called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; it was signed into law early in Obama’s administration, and poured $825 billion of taxpayer money into keeping unemployment low, lifting 2 million Americans from poverty, and having 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015.
It was an abysmal and costly failure. It also was the last straw for many fiscally conservative Americans who formed the organic political movement known at the Tea Party.
As with many of Obama’s policies, we’re still finding out just how inept he really was at stimulating the economy (amongst other things). Take, for instance, this report from the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services. They audited a program instituted through the stimulus to encourage doctors to use electronic records.
Turns out, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the electronic records program, overpaid doctors by $729 million. Oh, and they paid dead doctors for enrolling, too.
“From May 2011 through June 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paid an estimated $729 million in Medicare electronic health record incentive payments to eligible professionals who did not comply with Federal requirements,” the inspector general said. “In addition, it paid $2.3 million in inappropriate electronic health record incentive payments to eligible professionals who switched incentive programs.”
The payments began back in 2011, with Medicare and Medicaid paying hospitals, doctors and specialists up to $43,720 each time they met a program requirement that demonstrated their “meaningful use” of electronic health records. The total price tag for the first three years was $6 billion.
Even deceased doctors were on the gravy train, with one being paid $11,760 and two others who still have active accounts in the payment system.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the acting Medicare and Medicaid administrator, Patrick H. Conway, “agreed with most of the audit’s findings, but only partially agreed that it needs to attempt to recover the $729 million in ineligible payments.”
There’s an easy solution to this matter: let’s only “partially” fund Medicare and Medicaid until they figure out how to recoup the wasted taxpayer dollars.