As Americans ponder the effects of Obamacare on their lives and money, Obamacare certainly raises the issue of how truly incompetent every federal entitlement program is.
Every entitlement program is a gigantic fraud machine. It's well documented that Medicaid and Medicare are giant fraud factories. Medicare fraud has been estimated at $90 billion a year.
Medicare Fraud Costs U.S. $90B a Year ABC News
One recent and notorious case of Medicare fraud involved Detroit area physician Farid Fata. Fata is accused of bilking Medicare out of $35 million during a mere 2 year period, here. Because of the extent of Fata's fraud factory, his bail was set at $9 million, here, and his nefarious fraud went way beyond merely stealing from the government. He apparently was a grossly incompetent doctor.
The judge wrote, "this is not the typical type of healthcare fraud" because Fata is charged with intentionally misdiagnosing patients and then giving them "unnecessary treatments that are essentially poison."Dr. Fata lived an exceedingly extravagant lifestyle complete with a monster mansion. His entire operation was a Medicaid billing factory, and certainly not anything even remotely resembling reputable healthcare. He got caught because of his insidious greed. Most Medicare fraud isn't as big and open an operation as Fatas' alleged schemes and most physicians indulge in lower level fraud schemes. Still, there have been many blockbuster Medicare fraud schemes and $90 billion a year is no paltry sum.
Medicaid is also swimming in fraud. Any Google search will bring forth a ton of Medicaid fraud schemes. Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute, a think tank, estimates that Medicaid fraud runs about 10% of the cost of the program. Medicaid currently is costing taxpayers about $500 billion a year and Medicaid is expected to grow dramatically as Obamacare dumps more and more folks into the program according to Forbes, here.
Expanding Medicaid, which is funded jointly by states and the federal government, is a key part of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act. And though the U.S. Supreme Court last year largely upheld the law, it did allow state governors to opt out of expanding Medicaid coverage to more Americans.
Still, the Medicaid expansion should bring 5 million Americans into the expanded Medicaid coverage next year and eventually up to 10 million more newly insured Americans by 2017, Avalere’s Stento said. Before the Supreme Court ruling, Avalere projected there would be 11 million new Medicaid enrollees in 2014 “with that phasing up to 20 million by 2017 and 21 million by 2019,” Avalere said.As if Medicare and Medicaid fraud aren't bad enough, Obamacare is another fraud factory in the making because it heavily subsidizes Obamacare premiums purchased through the Obamacare exchanges.
Who is eligible for Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, eligibility depends on family income and dependents.
Beginning in October 2013, middle-income people under age 65, who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges.
Additionally, states have the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover all people making up to 138% of the federal poverty level (which is about $33,000 for a family of four). In states that opt out of expanding Medicaid, some people making below this amount will still be eligible for Medicaid, some will be eligible for subsidized coverage through Marketplaces, and others will not be eligible for subsidies.How much will Obamacare subsidies cost? The Obamacare subsidies are now projected to far exceed initial estimates. American Thinker reports:
According to the new White House budget, from the time the exchanges open in 2014 to 2021, the administration expects to spend about $606 billion on subsidies, a massive commitment of federal resources. That's about 27 percent more than the $478 billion projected in the president's budget last year, and 65 percent more than the $367 billion for the same period in the 2012 budget.... The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will cost about $9,000 in subsidies for a person who would have qualified for Medicaid under the expansion -- compared to $6,000 for Medicaid coverage.....
...the CBO jacked up its estimate again:
The CBO significantly hiked the amount of money needed to fund the subsidies available through Obamacare's exchanges, hiking them by $233 billion. IBD explains: "The CBO's new baseline estimate shows that ObamaCare subsidies offered through the insurance exchanges -- which are supposed to be up and running by next January -- will total more than $1 trillion through 2022, up from $814 billion over those same years in its budget forecast made a year ago. That's an increase of nearly 29%. The CBO upped the 10-year subsidy cost by $32 billion since just last August." Part of that is expecting more people in the exchanges thanks to employer dumping and more limited Medicaid expansion, but "The rest is largely the result of the CBO's sharp increase in what it expects the average subsidy will be. Last year, the CBO said the average exchange subsidy for those getting federal help when ObamaCare goes into effect next year would be $4,780. Its latest estimate raised that to $5,510 -- a 15% increase. All these numbers are up even more from the CBO's original forecast made in 2010, which had the first-year subsidy average at $3,970."Recap: The Obama Administration initially estimated that the average Obamacare subsidy would cost $3,970 per person but the CBO now estimates that the average subsidy will be $5,510 but some subsidies can reach $9,000.
At this juncture, nobody really knows how many folks will sign up for subsidized health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges or what the actual cost will be because the Obamacare exchanges don't go into effect until 10/1/13. What is known is that the government will not verify any information provided by applicants.
Obamacare’s Invitation to Fraud
In fact, the exchanges are not only released from the obligation to verify whether applicants are eligible for employer coverage, they are also released from the obligation to confirm applicants’ statements regarding their household incomes before providing them with what is supposed to be an income-based benefit.Furthermore, it is unclear how many employers will simply dump health insurance benefits for their employees and then dump them into the heavily subsidized Obamacare exchanges. The extent of Obamacare subsidy fraud is largely dependent on the extent to which employers just cancel health insurance benefits for their employees. As health insurance premiums continue to soar, both business and folks seeking health insurance will be faced with a cost prohibitive nightmare that is anything but affordable healthcare.
With America already spending a trillion bucks a year on Medicare and Medicaid, and with the CBO estimating that Obamacare subsidies will be very costly, it's unclear how much another entitlement program, Obamacare subsidies, will cost. The CBO is notorious for vastly underestimating the cost of every government program and it's already estimating that the 10 year cost of Obamacare subsidies will be a trillion or $100 billion a year which in reality will probability translate to $2 trillion or more in new entitlements.
The Food Stamp program or SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) cost $75-78 billion a year.
In 2001, the program served 17 million people at a cost of just over $15 billion. By June of this year, there were 47.8 million people enrolled in the program, and annual costs were about $75 billion, here.As the food stamp program grows, so does the fraud.
Cost of Food Stamp Fraud More Than Doubles In Three Years
In 2012, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official said that food stamp fraud totals $750 million each year - a number that more than doubles the cost of trafficking reported in a 2006- 2008 USDA study.As Medicaid and Medicare costs continue to soar, food stamp usage has also soared dramatically.
While it's clearly evident that every government program is nothing but a monstrous fraud factory, Americans remain hopelessly addicted to their entitlements and the political and corporatist business class absolutely know how to cash out, grow filthy rich and and grow their power.
Related Post: Obamacare - the Legacy of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act, & Understanding How We Arrived at Obamacare