September 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Possible to eliminate hundreds of billions of $ in waste and fraud from Medicare?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The long-awaited health care proposal from the Senate Finance committee is finally out; and in it, the Democrats insist the $856 billion bill would not add to the federal deficit.

That's a claim we've been hearing a lot these days... with President Obama promising he won't sign a bill that adds "one dime" to the deficit.

But a lot of people have a hard time believing that, especially since there haven't been many specifics on how the country will pay for this nearly $900 billion plan over the next 10 years.

One potential source of revenue the president mentions is that the bill would get rid of "hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" in the Medicare program. Really? Details, please...

If there's really so much to be saved from Medicare - why wait? Why not start now? Here's how a recent editorial in the Washington Post described it:

"When politicians start talking about paying for programs by cutting 'waste and abuse,' you should get nervous. When they don't provide specifics - and when the amounts under discussion are in the hundreds of billions of dollars - you should get even more nervous."

The president still needs to give specifics about taxes and spending cuts, and where the money will come to pay for this thing beyond 10 years.

Meanwhile congressional Democrats are admitting that they're having a hard time meeting the "restrictions" the president laid out - including his limiting the price tag to $900 billion over 10 years.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to paying for health care reform, do you think it's possible to "eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" from Medicare?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Denis from Upper Saint Clair, Pennsylvania writes:
Every political hack has decried waste and abuse in Medicare for decades. Of course, they have never pointed out where it is or how to fix it. Ask any senator or congressman what they have done to solve the problem.

Steve writes:
Absolutely. I have had this explained to me by insiders in the industry, people who work with Medicare every day. Subsidies to insurance companies alone will go a very long way. Medicare Advantage should be eliminated. Electronic forms, believe it or not, would save huge money. It's not clear if the bill would cover the ability to use its size to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, but this would save enormously. And none of what I just said even touches what better fraud protection would save.

Dave from Altoona, Pennsylvania writes:
If they've already identified it as waste and fraud, why isn't it being eliminated now? And why aren't those responsible being fired or prosecuted?

Dave writes:
Absolutely. I used to own an ambulance company and saw a lot of fraud and abuse from my competitors. Medicare estimates 1 in 10 ambulance rides in this nation is fraudulent. I reported fraud to the Office of Inspector General back in March 2006, complete with affidavits and direct evidence of illegal contract prices. They are so backlogged that still nothing has been done.

Ed writes:
Not possible, waste and fraud only hurts the taxpayers. We know how efforts to stop that end.

Barbara writes:
As a health care professional, I can tell you that the amount of all waste and fraud in our health care system is astronomical. Documentation is all that is needed to bill for just about anything, and I can assure you, the fraud is in the documentation. Private practices with their own lab and pharmacy have what is basically a blank check as they can and DO change results to accommodate billing practices. Some of you out there know what I mean... it is shameful.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. chuck b

    If you have worked in the corperate world, you now that there is waste everywhere..The question is how much are willing to stand for ? How does it effect the bottomline? How does it effect you ?

    September 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  2. nancy

    i believe it can.

    there was story here in our local paper about a lady who has als and needed a computer that will turn the typed word into speech. medicare and her secondary insurances approved it. the cost $8000.00. and this was for a desk top. she wanted a laptop because she needed something portable. she went to apple computer to see if they could help her. they did. and it was a portable with a laptop. the total cost...$300.00. medicare and her secondary insurances refuse to pay for this $300.00 computer. this is the kind of waste that we need to do away with. and this is not the only example of this kind of waste.


    September 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    I always beleive in cleaning government and not get complaisant and if we do not review; this is how it gets out of hand with more fraud! But, I also beleive in people who has benefitted the most from healthcare profits as well as over the top care; should contribute more to the system to have more balance.

    September 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Dear Jack
    Not likely, Brother. One man's waste fraud or abuse is usually another man's earmark. All I can say is, Lotsa Luck Mr. President.

    Pablo in Arlington Texas

    September 16, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Waste and abuse comes from poor management, mis-management, poor cost control, the ever-growning number of doctors who are in the Senate and run hospitals or large medical practices, and don't have a clue as to what is going on in the lower socio-economic areas of this country.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  6. Joyce Kamara

    Dear Mr.Caffery,
    Yes we do need health care, I have a daughter that is a working mother, , she had to drop her insurance on herself, because she could not afford
    it. We need something...........this is crazy..this is the United State of America..............

    Now, the other thing is we have thousands of doctors here from other countries, whom are citizens, that are working, paying taxes,etc.
    They are working in factories, cashiers,and driving cabs, etc.

    They cannot practice until they complete their USMLE, they have been in schools, and colleges for eighteen years and more. Each time they take
    their test, it's 500 or more. ( research it) we're going to need doctors, so why can't we design a program so that they can practice and work on their USMlE, because they are already doctors.It's hard to study for this test when you have to work, they have already been to colleges, meds schools most of their lives, and now they must do it again.

    We have educated Doctors, let use their skills................ it's a waste......

    Joyce K.from Lancaster, pa

    September 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Jerry Alpharetta. GA

    It was very clear from President Obama's health care speech to Congress if you read the body language and watch the little smirks. He will not pass a bill that adds one dime to the deficit, but he did not finish the sentence. The sentence should have stated, I will not sign a bill that adds one dime to the deficit, the cost must be covered by increased taxes. We are now used to his flowery oratory, now is the time to dig into exactly what was said and what was left out and what are the facts.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  8. Ray Kinserlow

    Sure, end the program, but the ensuing riots would cost more.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    September 16, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  9. Denis Duffy

    Every political hack has decried waste and abuse in medicare for decades. Of course, they have never pointed out where it is or how to fix it. Ask any Senator or congressman what they have done to solve the problem. Then shout " LIAR, LIAR " straight into their face. And you can include Obama too.

    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  10. Lucy

    Yeah, I don't doubt that there really is that much waste and fraud in a government funded program. Our government isn't exactly known for it's high morals and efficiency. The End.
    SF, CA

    September 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  11. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Not as long as the insurance companies keep stuffing money into the pockets of our congressmen.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Yes first stop the giveaways to greedy Corporations who care nothing about America and it's people or any other people. They are like the corporations in that movie "Network", where the CEO said that their are no countries anymore only Corporations. They believe that they are the countries and that we owe everything to them even our live as long as it makes them a profit!

    September 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  13. David

    Gibbs himself has said that there's nothing racist about the opposition to the president. There are racists out there. We saw them among the tea party demonstrators and we hear them on the radio. By and large, however, the opposition is just what it is-opposition.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  14. Ken McConnell

    jack, in my subdivision there are 5 wheelchairs,4 wheeled walkers all paid for by medicare. they are now in attics,as the people who used these items have now died.. I priced a wheeled walker on the internet, the cost is around $1800 to 2200 each. multiply this across the country and it addsup fast. surely we can find a way to reclcle thes expensive items. yet when another family needed a walker good old medicare provided a "NEW" one. with the comment "it won,t cost you a cent.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  15. Joan: Burlington, Vt

    We absolutely have to make it possible. Now that I am on medicare my regular doctor visits cost $240 per visit - $69 to the doctor in Essex Jct. and $169 to the hospital ten miles down the road from the doctor's office in Burlington as an outpatient charge. This is fraud plain and simple !!

    September 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  16. Steve Canada

    Yes, absolutely..The problem is the overcharging, extra billing, etc is all counted as income by companies doing it..They weigh the percentages of being caught vs the amount of the fine levied and make a judgement to accept the risk of being caught and fined..The extra billing and frauds that take place are always more lucrative than the penalty..Why in hell do you think they lobby so hard for the status quo?

    September 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  17. Tony

    Of course they wont eliminate it! How can a Congress full of waste and fraud eliminate waste and fraud??? If you want to eliminate waste and fraud, then eliminate the Congress!

    September 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  18. Remo, Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack, here's a novel idea! Let's fix Medicare first, then we can fund the Health Care Reform Bill! Simple!

    September 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  19. Mike Armstrong TX.

    They need to examin how many people are drawing SSI and food stamps on there pets dont kid yourself this has happend before.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  20. George - Melbourne, FL

    It does not matter which side thinks they have a better plan. There can be 200 boiler plate plans out there, but whichever side did not write it will not support it or figure out a way to make it better. The bottom line is that with these jokers we have in Washington today, there will be nothing accomplished that will benefit the real people that put them there. You and I do not have large enough purse strings to make ANY POLITICIAN happy enough to want to help US. The Politician's moto is and has been for a long time "What have you done for ME lately$". I am in good health but all this crap going on is making me SICK.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  21. David B. Smith

    Yes there is a way to save money.Stop paying outrageous claims. Also is it true that the democrats have passed a bill that would include illegals in health care and does it impact medicare for seniors. I am 100% against paying health care for illegals and they should be deported at once.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  22. Michael in Albuquerque,NM

    The current healthcare debate reminds me of part of the story behind 'All the Kings Men'. The candidate for governor is trying to get a hospital built to help the 'hicks'. It turns out that the hospital is more of a front to funnel money to contractors and high placed frauds.
    The hospital industrial complex and insurance industry has long been corrupted by the greed of contactors, pharmaceutical companies and insurance fraud. By enforcing regulations, laws and controls we may be able to save a load of money. By refusing to pay for over priced health insurance we will save as much as we can.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  23. b.smith

    Its not about race, it's about Obama is so intelligent and compassionate and the opposition is not able to come up with anyone who will come close to being so great in the next election so they are in a panic 4 years ahead of time to destroy him and selfish people who have health insurance should vow to not ever take medicare when they get older

    September 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  24. Christine from Ocean City, MD

    Maybe Medicare should be subject to choice and competition, too.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  25. Pam holt

    Yes, when I went to the dr. With my husband, we were soposed to be going for a consultation , yet the nurse wanted him to pee in a cup . he told her he came for a consultation. she said ok, if you don" t want to. Then she proceeded to take his blood pressure and check his prostate, then held out the insurance papers for him to sign. this was unnessasary and only for money.it wasn" t waste for the dr. Who had him in for aconsultation. I was irritated,knowing what was taking place. No telling what the consultation cost.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  26. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    Yes it is. Give monetary rewards for any insider who knows where the waste and fraud is and reports it.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  27. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    I don't know that the sheer amount of money that is being talked about can be saved. However, that being said, there is a lot of room for trimming out waste and fraud from both this program and others. But no matter what, the cost for doing nothing outweighs the cost of the bill - even without the cost cutting measures.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  28. Jim Bailey

    The only way you'll get the crooks out is to jail the lobbyists and then see who complains...but then poor Wilfred Brimley would be out of work.
    Cripple Creek CO

    September 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  29. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    It would be nice if they could but that wont happen, for that to take place it would require honesty in our government and those in the privet sector, and we all no that wont happen, money, greed and power will get in the way it always has.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  30. Steve W

    Absolutely. I have had this explained to me by insiders int he industry, people who work with Medicare every day. Subsidies to insurance companies alone will go a very long way. Medicare Advantage should be eliminated. Electronic forms, believe it or not, would save huge money. It's not clear if the bill would cover the ability to use its size to negotiate with pharmacutecal companies, but this would save enormously. And none of what I just said even touches what better fraud protection would save.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  31. Sandy O

    Yes, the Right has been telling us for years that Medicare is full of waste and fraud. Now is the time to do something about it rather than just complaining about it.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  32. Janne from NC

    Jack I work in the long term care industry. You would not believe the waste I see every day. After the Presidents speech the other night I sat down and in 5 minutes I had honestly figured how to save over 30 million dollars. Unfortunately our elected officials do not have political will to make these changes or for that matter the interest. Once health care is past it will business as usual.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  33. Harry Lime

    No, it's not possible, but don't call the President a liar. You will have to think of a less caustic rejoinder to respond to this untruth. There are no such things as liars and lies anymore. And I'm not lyin'.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  34. Samuel O

    Health care reform will help save billions of dollars. Why? Because it will stop insurance companies abuse, and reduce insurance affordability.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  35. Deborah Black

    Yes, I do believe it is possible. As a Nurse that works with insurance comaines, I know it is possible. Why can't he do it now? Because much of the waste is in paying Insurance Companies to manage Medicare benefits and RX meds. They don't do a thing except take Medicare money and decide if they will give any of it do the Drs and hospitals; and try every way possible to not pay. They made the up front deal not to negotiate with the drug companies for discounts, so what did Medicare reciepitants get? Donut holes. By doint away with these so called Medicare Advantage products, we would save billions; but we need the health reform to do it.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  36. Bill Port Neches,TX

    I don't know, but do we have to wait for a bill to cut costs?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  37. Rick Whitney

    Sure you could get rid of waste and fraud in medicare and you could also create a few hundred billion $$ in waste and fraud in the new public option plan.

    Isn't this an admission that public plans are a big financial waste?

    How much waste and fraud in MEDICAID??

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  38. Mike

    Will never happen! Also, again, everything the govt runs is going broke. IE- soc sec, medicare, post office.......

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  39. Alice,AR

    Yes!! This should have been done a long time ago. My mom had colon cancer. She received medical supplies from a company each month. She would call them saying she had plenty of supplies and did not need anymore this month. They would send them to her anyway and bill medicare. She called medicare and reported this and nothing was done. Fraud in medicare is rampant.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  40. Kyle

    I do not see how that could be possible. How much money does it take to run medicare? I'm not sure, but something tells me that it is not enough where the possibility of hundreds of billions of dollars could be eliminated solely from waste and fraud. It also seems counterintuitive that the government could save money that way when it has not done so already. With that much money in question, why would they not do that already?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  41. Bob Critton

    If there has been this much fraud and waste in medicare, why hasn't it been corrected in the past? Fire all the people in charge of looking out for this.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  42. john lambert

    Sure it is possible but it won't without big big big bigger government. Who wants that . Let the private sector solve the problem and they'll get it done.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  43. Bill Denegar

    Possible, not probable.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  44. Alexander Kolokotronis

    It is certainly possible to wipe out such large sums of money from the budget. Especially when considering that billions of dollars are spent just on administrative costs. The question is whether people in the health insurance companies and other sectors will be able to be pushed to drastic changes while these same people are simultaneously part of the problem.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  45. Dolores

    Do you think charging Medicare/Medicaid $7.00 for a single Tylenol is fraud? One needs to take a closer and itemized look at what hospitals, doctors, etc. charge the system for their services and other items.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  46. John S

    Jack: You & I are old enough to remember when LBJ signed Medicare into law. It was supposed to be an option costing a projected 10 billion. We see where that went. The most difficult thing for any government to do is wring savings out of any program – it's a sad commentary.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  47. Fred Canaday

    I think there may be enogh waste in Medicare to pay for the proposed health care plan, however anyone who believes that it will be found and eliminated has had his head in the sand for the last 50 years. Government programs never shrink they only grow.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  48. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Name me one program,just one that the congress has not messed up.These are the SAME people that ran Freddie and Fannie which lost billions and is still broke. And took billions out of the social security trust fund and never paid it back.
    So you think they will save on waste?? Ha!!! Not in our life time.Its the good ole boys taking care of the good ole boys and the people don't matter.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  49. Tim Orlando - California

    We'd better find a way or the current healthcare system will bankrupt this country. The problem with many people - including Congress - is that they can't think outside the box. This time they'll have to.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  50. David

    A well managed, integrated process and quality improvement and assurance department will target: cost out, lean processing, waste elimination and design for optimum efficiency. It is possible to reduce waste with clear standards and deligent action.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  51. Vince

    Yes if they really want to. Medicare gets charged $388 for a pair of what they call diabetic walking shoes. The box said made in China, and they are no different than the pair of New Balance I buy for $50 at Academy Sports. Also the rental on an O2 machine is paid for 3 yrs before they give it to you but the reantal on one would buy three of them over a 3 year period. This needs to stop.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  52. Howard: Las Vegas, Nv.

    The only possibility is, if its coupled with strong regulations for Insurance Companies and Pharmaceuticals to do the same.
    I hope Obama continues to concentrate on centralizing Medical Records, along with getting rid of Fraud and Abuse.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  53. Nancy Flynn

    If the new system is built to cover everyone, old and young, Medicare and Medicaid can be replaced.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  54. Sue in Newtown, PA

    Medicare is like free money for doctors. I know a primary care physician's nurse who quit her job because he only took medicare patients, and he insisted on seeing them every 3 months, even though they were perfectly healthy. She couldn't stand the fraud so she quit her job. There is definitely a lot of waste and fraud that needs to be eliminated. And not all seniors are afraid of reform, my father who is on medicare complains about the waste all the time, especially getting the same tests done for different doctors within a short period of time, because they aren't sharing the info. I also think there should be medicare clinics where patients can get routine tests done and the results sent to all their doctors. No need for a doctor's visit unless there's a problem.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  55. Leander Paul Boucher

    Fraud and waste in Medicare is like corruption in politics, you can't have one without the other.
    Anaheim, California

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  56. Akil

    I doubt it. It's possible, but not likely. The President promised a year ago that he would go through the entire federal budget line by line, identify programs that weren't working, and either improve or eliminate them. I've heard nothing about that promise from him since he was elected. I see little reason to believe he'll be able to make good on this new promise, even if he tries his damnedest.

    Historically, government entitlement programs, like Obama's health care plan itself, have almost always ended up costing a lot more than they were originally projected to cost. How is Obama going to deal with that? We're still in the dark.

    Montreal, Canada

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  57. David, Venice,FL

    Oh sure, I believe they can do this and santa claus will make up any short fall they may have.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  58. Dick - Michigan

    There is no way to find hundreds of billions of $ in "waste, fraud and abuse" in Medicare. If it could be done why hasn't it been done already? Our government has NEVER been able to manage any enterprise with efficiency. Look at the Post Office, AMTRAK, Social Security, etc. All of these, and many others, are bankrupt or will be in the foreseable future. None could compete in a free and open marketplace.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  59. Dee, New York

    I don't think that it is possible and I am wondering what if anything the administration has done during the past eight months to cut waste and fraud in Medicare. If it is possible, how many billions of $ have been eliminated so far this year?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  60. John

    I don't know why you are so cynical. Remember when Reagan balanced the budget by getting rid of waste, fraud, and abuse?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  61. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes we can, but up to now, there was no bill to explain it. You can’t give specifics if you don’t have details. The House bill was totally misinterpreted by the real liars so rational thought wasn’t in that discussion. The republicans aren’t going to vote for anything Obama, so they are irrelevant. It’s time to finalize it, explain it in its final form and pass it by whatever means.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  62. kyle

    No.. Plain and simple.. Medicare has ben broken for years. The Federal Government cant run Medicare correctly what makes them think they can run another health Care system effectively.

    Rumford Maine

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  63. Gini Worthen

    Yes, Jack. I've been on Medicare for 3 years now, and I"M starting to crack down on unnecessary tests, duplicate procedures, and too-frequent Doctor's visits. I'm trying hard not to use more than my fair share of Medicare benefits. Unfortunately, for many, the statement "Medicare will pay for it" convinces people to just go ahead with whatever. Lets not forget who ultimately pays for Medicare – we all do!

    Westbrook, Maine

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  64. Patricia/Georgia

    Yes...when the multiple tests and other fradulent payments are investigated ....we could save millions. Over billing and double billing are rampant and I know that we can do a lot more than we are doing now. My eye doctor tried to get paid by me and Medicade so believe me, that coupled with the new fast payment systems Obama plans to install will do that or close to that. However, I am willing to pay a little more because health care for all is desperately needed. Finally, when most of the people who go to the emergency rooms have some form of insurance...that alone will save all of us from having to pay for those who don't have insurance.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  65. Mary Stanley

    Waste in Medicare.

    My mother who died about two years ago was admitted to the hospital emergency room three years before she died with symptoms of a stroke – she was 94. We received a copy of the bill submitted to Medicare – which included the tests for her stroke but also included over $6,000 to put a cast on her broken leg. She didn't have a broken leg. I called medicare to report fraud and all they said was that because she could have fallen from the stroke – a broken leg would be a logical result. Even though I argued with them that the charge was fraud – they paid the bill anyway.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  66. Hilary Weeks

    No & if it were possible and no one has been working to do it they should all be fired. Shocking how reckless they are with our tax dollars...

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  67. Mary Texas

    Do the arithmetic Jack. If we spend more than any other industrialized country on healthcare and our results are far worse,why can't figure out how to use the difference to improve ours. Lets hear from some of the folks from those countries, and make sure thay are not plants.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  68. Joseph in Los Angeles

    Sure you can eliminate fraud and waste!! Look at California, we are in the midst of cutting fraud and waste and we have teachers losing jobs, prisoners being released, children losing health care, firefighters and police not having money and the State Government having to shut down several days a month. So if we cut waste and fraud from Medicare, what do we have to look forward to??

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  69. coley white

    I believe it is possible to eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating the payments to the health insurance companies for medicare award and placing those participants in the regular medicare program. I believe the award program was completed in previous legislation to placate Republicans and the health care companies. This money could also be used to reduce the overall deficit in the medicare system.

    I however strongly support health care insurance reform. I understand that a recent survey by AMA of 10,000 doctors shows 78% support a public option or single payor system. Those guys can't be wrong. Am I correct about this survey?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  70. Ray in Fresno

    Most of the physicians I've talked to love Medicare and don't often have any claims rejected. That tells me there could be a lack of checks and balances in the program. So, yes.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  71. roland byerly

    the only waay to save money by getting rid of waste would be to get rid of congress, We would be able to balance the budget and have a surplus almost over night. If all of this could be paid for in this matter it should have already been done--Roland–Deming, NM

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  72. Jim Booth


    Eliminating the waste in Medicare is pretty easy. It's called Medicare Advantage, it's a privatization boondoggle created by the Bush Administration that pays private insurance companies a flat fee to insure elderly patients, regardless of how sick they are. Unfortunately, mostly healthy people sign up for these programs, and the insurance companies have made huge profits on them. It's well documented. Look it up! The only problem, of course, is that the insurance lobbyists will spend billions to save these payments for their clients.

    As far as the fraud, well that's not so easily eliminated.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  73. Ray from Lake Charles, La.

    health care reform? $856 billion
    Waste, fraud and abuse? $500 billion
    indicting those responsible for allowing that much waste fraud and abuse to go on? PRICELESS

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  74. pete reilly

    We can eliminate it if we get serious. For every $100,000 in fraud you get i year in the slammer and you repay the $100,000 and the fine is $1oo,ooo. Steal a million and it's 10 years and pay back $2,000,000. Nothing is sacrosanct-your pension,your wife,your kids,vacation home ,pension plan,your cars,whatever you own we will take for payback. Under these rules watch how quickly the family members straighten up the crook when they stand to lose it all.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  75. mike

    Jack, I think the question should be more slanted to MEDICAID as this is the true blood sucker of funding. Mosy people on medicare have for the mosy part, EARNED this goernment benefit.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  76. Vincent Conti

    Of course you can eliminate billions of dollars in waste and fraud but they never do it. awhen a situation like this occurs they say there bnis waste and fraud but when it comes time to do it they don"t. Vin Conti., Woburn, Mass.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  77. Jay Kraft

    As a medical management software installer for 20 years, I saw so much medicare fraud it was disgusting. Unfortunately, the government won't pay for enough enforcement personal to ferret out the massive fraud in the system. If they did have enough personnel, billions would be recovered.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  78. Darren

    Being an ex healthcare worker, you would be astounded at the levels of Medicare fraud going on and yes, I could see billions being saved by cleaning up those lucrative loopholes.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  79. Debbie

    The President said that he can save money from current health care period, that includes Medicare, health insurance overcharges, billing issues and other issues that is wasting tax payers money.

    Yes, I believe he can save money to pay for the majority of the healthcare reform.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  80. Dick Smith

    Although I like the idea of the health care for all outlook and I support the President I really do think saving Billions from Medicare is a little like a fairy tale. Give us more info to be able to believe this.
    I'm sure there is many ways to make cuts in many programs to pay for health care.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  81. jesse tatro


    Haven't you noticed the 70 year old hucksters toutinh their FREE power chair..........and the LAWYERS............who ADVERTISE for Disability . Evidently LAWYERS see profit .......nuff said !

    jesse tatro
    Massena NY

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  82. Gretchen Nutt

    You've finally said something I can wholeheartedly support! If there are billions of dollars to be saved from Medicare or any other government program, DO IT NOW!! I do not believe it can be done, so CONVINCE ME. I might begin to trust this administration. There is no reason to consign us to an enormous boondoggle program until there's proof we can afford it. Gretchen from Kansas City

    September 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  83. Peg

    Yes, there are ways to eliminate waste and fraud in Medicare.

    1. Get rid of Big Pharma's involvement. Allow Medicare to negotiate directly with the pharmaceuticals to lower drug costs just like the VA does.

    2. Stop fee for service payments. Providers should be paid lump sums for diagnoses. Have providers give the best treatments not the most treatments.

    3. Get the private health insurance companies out of Medicare by dropping all Medicare Advantage programs. They're more expensive and the seniors enrolled in them are no healthier than those enrolled in regular Medicare.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  84. Linda in Arizona

    This is another reason I'm hoping health insurance "reform" as pushed by the administration and Congress, will fail. They want to pay for their sop to the insurance industry by stealing half a trillion dollars from old people and poor people. Which candidate received more millions from the industry than any other? That would be O B A M A. Check it out. I don't want them messing with Medicare or Medicaid. They will cut services and payments to providers. They will gut the programs. Keep OUT!!!

    And that Baucus sellout plan comes straight from the white house. Baucus is a total shill, having received millions from the insurance industry. However, his plan is being floated with the full knowledge and approval of the white house. Look out for a snake in the grass named rahm emanuel.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  85. Sarah

    If things would actually be done.

    Jack I recently found out my social security number is being used at a local clinic (the person using it has the same birth date so I hardly call it any kind of computer error)

    I have made so many phone calls over the issue because whoever has the number is also able to get benefits and such with it... not to mention the potential disaster of them establishing credit.

    Phone call after phone call, report after report... and I'm told to make a police report of identity theft (that will cost me 500 dollars that I do not have apparently) and to check my credit score.

    Because figuring out where the other person using my social security number lives and arresting them or investigating is impossible.

    The government allows fraud and waste.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  86. John Gunkler

    Sure, Jack, at least most of it. The President has speficially said he would eliminate the subsidies to health insurers who provide medicare supplemental insurance at 14% above the cost of the program to the government. That's a huge chunk of the $900 B.

    Rye, NH

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  87. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    They can start by refusing to pay 20 bucks for an aspirin in a hospital instead of letting patients bring in their own 5 dollar bottle. They are also renting hospital beds and lifts for FOUR times what it costs to buy them. I know because I also had to pay that along with Medicare. We got a statement charging for oxygen because Medicare wouldn't pay for the time they spent on fixing a wheelchair. He didn't use oxygen and we didn't have the money to pay for it. It went through and they got paid. I think these qualify for fraud and abuse. I also think it's possible to save alot of money by addressing these issues.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  88. Karen in Cortland, Ohio

    Hi Jack,

    Yes, I think we can – we start with repealing President Bush's NO PRICE NEGOIATION clause for Medicare (which effectively included medicaid)

    The April 16, 2009 AARP Watchdog Report showed that in just one year, older Americans routinely taking three brand-name drugs saw their drug bills jump by an average of $550 because the drug companies raised the price on those medications. Overall this has added Billions to medicare drug costs.

    The Inspector General's report 9/1/09 shows that Medicare pays 4 times the price for the same wheelchair that the VA buys. Even on simple things like canes, Medicare pays more.

    WHY – Because Medicare can't negoiate prices for drugs or durable goods.

    Add up all that, then the fraud by greedy physicians, billing companies, clinics and the like – I'll be surprised if we don't end up with a surplus after it's all said and done.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  89. Gary

    I absolutely believe that reducing the fraud with Medicare will reduce cost. A hospital charged an elderly friend with 3 days Hospital stay for a two hour emergency room visit. When Medicare was notified, not one thing resulted!! Many hospitals game the system every day. Most agencies know this but look the other way. Some states have investigators I understand, but if all states pursued this I believe we would be astonished at the fraud that really exists.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  90. Norris Palmer

    The greatest savings will be from non duplication of efforts, and centralization of data by one company not 300. One number to call, one place to file a claim, You know how much you could save by having DirectTV and DishNetwork sharing the same sattelites, but monopoly laws would not allow that. Thats why this healthcare plan will work because healthcare is not a commodity.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  91. Charlie

    Yes. Every time I refill a prescription with my HMO Medicare Plan I get 3 phone calls and when my prescription arrives through the US mail there are at least 5 sheets of paper telling me what I already know.. It all costs money.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  92. Chad from Los Angeles


    Has anyone looked at a substantial medical bill lately and seen how it gets inflated drastically before getting cut down to what you owe after insurance?

    There is trillions of inflated dollars in the health care industry. Time to bring that amount down to real costs, and we will be surprised at how much is saved!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  93. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    Yes jack; If we count all the lobbist and all the politicians and all the millions fund donations, The partys,vacations,layers, They only like to spend money amoung themselfs.they get big boats to have partys and women,It can come to a lot of cash.They think we're stupit.yet they don't care if we know. they think they deserve it.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  94. Don

    Yes! It is very simple. Just get rid of Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans (scams) just give money to private health insurance companies. Medicare recipients who are currently on them will be much better off getting simple Medicare Part B gap insurance.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  95. vallury

    I agree with you, that if billions could be saved by cutting wasteful spending by medicare then why did'nt any of the past presidents think of the same, and if President Obama is certain of this fact then why has he not acted on this issue since he took office 9 months ago, and why is he waiting on congress to solve this matter.
    Will the president ever take the matter of malpractice reform seriously or will he let the trial lawyers dictate the expenditures and increasing costs in the healthcare delivery system.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  96. Paul Diamond

    What is needed for Medicare to survive is for congress to unshackle the management of Medicare and allow them to negotiate rates with doctors, hospitals, drug companies, medical equipment suppliers in fact all healthcare providers. This will serve to lower costs and allow healthcare providers to make a reasonable profit.
    Paul Diamond
    Foley, AL

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  97. Shelley - Atlanta, GA

    Yes. I believe it's possible. Especially when the effort to eliminate fraud and abuse is combined with reforms which provide uninsured and under-insured patients with alternatives for health care other than fraud; and give medical professionals the ability to make treatment decisions in the patients' best interest.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  98. Phil DesMarteau

    Jack, why are you so adamnant that there is no way our government can pay for medical insurance in reality??
    They are not saying all the money will come from savings from Medicare costs.
    Problems can stimulate answers. Even some that we are not even talking about now. How about stopping expenditures on the wars we are involved with. Sure this would creat different problems, but then again this would stimulate more answers if we would think positively rather than negatively.
    Jack, your acting old!! Liven up!!There are answers out there awaiting a change in atttitude.
    By the way, I really like your your show!!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  99. Mike Calif.

    Jack, they do it often. Check the "deficit reduction act of 2005" and "s. 1932[109th]" That's where they cut coverage to medicare to save money so they could give them big tax breaks.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  100. george

    all of this discussion over the cost of healthcare refrom. 1 trillion dollars over ten years represents about one percent of our gdp.
    to answer your qustion the answer in my opinion is yes.
    you just left one word off the list of the things that need to be eliminated......corruption. waste is an afterthought it's the corruption that leads to fraud.
    healthcrae reform is more than affordable,the tough thing appears to be eliminating those who stand to lose the most by a sound bill being passed.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  101. robert in ainsworth

    yes I do jack. plain and simple. we are so completely complicating this way more than ever need be. if we take the working family and base their health care on a sliding scale according to the public option then you can eliminate millions of families from medicare, and medicade. instead of recieving free service and costing the taxpayers, you could be recieving revenue from even families that can't afford practical healthcare but this will make it accesable to them and not put the added burden on the taxpayer

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  102. Claire - Melbourne FL

    They sure can find waste and fraud. I see my sons prescription costs – they used to cost me $3000 to $4000 a year. Now with the new prescription drug program, that wasn't funded by our Republican Congress, his costs are $15,000 a year. That is disgusting. I'm sure many others have the same costs under our new Medicare Rx program. How come deficits don't count when Republicans are in power????

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  103. James

    My parents depend upon medicare in their retirement years, and I do believe that we could save a tremendous amount of money by eliminating medicare waste and fraud. Start with doctors who charge hundreds of dollars to medicare to read over a hospital chart. Continue with redundant testing. And finally, require wellness programming for those on medicare, as many don't understand how to prevent illness, and frankly don't care, because they have medicare and it will take care of them. These are all suggestions that private insurers utilize, and they work.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  104. marianne kehoe

    maybe President Obama plans to end the wars but isn't ready to reveal his plans yet.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  105. sylvia busey

    yes the gov. can save millions on medicare and medicaid cause when my mom was sick i reported thousands of false bills tunred into the gov. and i wrote and called about it many times and nothing was ever done. so yes if they police the system better and they can hire me it could save millions.

    houston, texas

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  106. George Poor, Seattle

    I am "Grandpa" and I would resent well intentioned persons, be they family or medical pros, who chose to keep me alive and likely unconscious for a few days against my ex[pressly documented instructions. THAT is very likely to be a big part of waste and abuse! I say, Bring on the Death Panel!!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  107. Barbara Rose

    As a healthcare professional I can tell you that the amount of ALL waste and fraud in our healthcare system is astronomical. Documentation is all that is needed to bill for just about anything, and I can assure you, the fraud is in the documentation. Private practices with their own lab and pharmacy have what is basically a blank check as they can and DO change results to accommodate billing practices. Some of you out there know what I mean....it is shameful.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  108. Bruce Mitchell

    Isn't it unusual that critics of President Obama can root their criticism of him in fantasy (birthers, he's promoting Socialism, etc) yet when President Obama says he won't sign a bill that adds to the deficit you question him on it. Since everything anyone has to say is opinion, maybe we should wait until he signs a bill to judge it!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  109. Tom Blue

    Are you doubing the president's figures on the health care deficit and and the savings because of medicare fraud ? does that make congress and the president liars? you owe them an apology

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  110. Bill

    I'm sure there's a lot of fraud, but I damn sure personally know there's a lot of waste! There's all those duplicated tests my doctors order and prescriptions I end up quitting. Not to mention being wrongly diagnosed and treated for asthma for several years, including prescribing a portable nebulizer, before finding out I don't have it. There's the sleep center test (who can sleep wired up?) and the resulting CPAP machine I can't sleep with. I won't forget the emergency doctor that botched up fixing an injury so bad I had to have surgery a month later. How about Xrays that don't show anything? I'm a senior citizen who's glad to have Medicare, but no one is doing anything to stop the waste.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  111. Sandra

    Direct answer: Yes
    Realistic answer: No
    Why: Congress/Senate is not/will not be impacted by Medicare. They don't know the pitfalls, the issues well enough to deal with it.

    First of all, all states should/must have the same template for charges, etc. INCLUDING medications.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  112. Ed

    Not possible, waste and fraud only hurts the taxpayers. We know how efforts to stop that end.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  113. Arlene Allen

    Dear Jack,

    If Max Baucus says he know's how to do it, then, he can! Max is Montana's favorite son and is a very good and honest man. I am proud of the work he is doing on behalf of so many American's who so badly need health care.

    Thank You,

    Arlene from Montana

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  114. Stephanie

    He absolutely did say how he would pay for the health care reforms. Anyone who has ever looked at an insurance statement knows that hospitals and clinics overcharge for everything from band-aids to medications. When was the last time that you paid $40.00 for a band-aid at CVS? There is tremendous waste, fraud and abuse in both healthcare and insurance. Recently I took my son for an MRI. When I got the insurance statement the clinic charged for services they did not perform. I called the insurance company to let them know and their response was, "don't worry about it". Unbelievable! Then the clinic had the nerve to not want to read the MRI unless I made another appointment. Aside from cleaning up the waste, fraud and abuse in the existing healthcare system, President Obama stated plainly that he would cut spending in Washington if that is what is needed to pay for healthcare reform. I think that is a wonderful idea.

    In closing I want to ask all Americans a question:

    Why is it that we can spend billions of our tax dollars and go into debt to build up other countries but when it comes to spending money to improve the conditions of the people in the United States who are paying the taxes and shouldering the debt, there are riots in the streets? Why is it socialist to help ourselves?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  115. Ray in Fresno

    By the way, people (like Dick – Michigan) who say that government-run agencies cannot compete in a free market are forgetting the recent Wall Street firms who fleeced us. And a lot of folks, like myself, think the Post Office and other government-owned corporations and agencies are BETTER run, particularly when it comes to being considerate of its customers, the public.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  116. Paul Diamond

    In all other forms of business if they fail to meet their claims you don't have to pay. However, doctors are held to a different standard. If a doctor prescribes a course of treatment and the treatment doesn't work the patient, or their insurance company still has to pay. If we were to change that approach it would put more 'bad' doctors out of business while lowering the cost of health insurance and malpractice insurance. That option is not available for healthcare consumers. It should be.
    Paul Diamond
    Foley, AL

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  117. Pat Arsenault

    Hi Jack,
    I don't know where their going to get the money to pay for this plan,
    but I sure don't want to talk badly about the presidents ideas and be labeled a racist. I also think that former president Carter should find himself a nice resthome somewhere and tell all his wonderful ideas to the butterfly's.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  118. Shirley Mesquite

    Yes it is possible. There are many many doctors/businesses cheating/over charging medicare and medicaid. Cafferty, you do not have a clue what is going on in the real world!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  119. Duncan

    Yes it is easy to make savings. Suppliers give one price to an individual, and a much higher price to Medicare. Cutting the fraud alone would save millions. Medicare fraud cases have brought fines measured in the billions alone, look at the medicare fraud website, fines of 450 million, 325 million, 1.7 billion, and this is just a few examples. I am a RN and I see what happens when you run out of insurance, it's heart breaking. I would take a pay cut for better, affordable healthcare for all.

    Duncan Texas

    September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  120. LAMB

    Fraud? If Fraud already exists what makes one think that fraud won't exist in this new bill? sigh

    September 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  121. Alvin P Sherman

    Are you kidding me?

    Congress has abandoned its constitutional duty of overseeing the executive branch. Pelosi has refused to address waste - and she has supported littering across all government programs.

    Does anyone really think that Congress is competent and capable of montering anything?

    I don't mean republican or democrat - small caps intended, I mean congress.

    We live in a sick constitional society - wake up America.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  122. BJ in Minneapolis

    The savings to be made in both Medicare and Medicaid are considerable. The low rate they pay for services encourages pushing the envelope with added services that may or may not have been given and might not be billed for the same services when other forms of insurance are involved.
    Example: look into the rental charges for medication equipment that far exceeds the purchase price. There are some items that have been paid for 5 or more times in rental fees. Oxygen services is a problem area. The patients is stuck with whatever equipment and lack of mobility that equipment means for the person. The company charges the same rate every month for year for the use of tanks no matter if you do not order any replacements. Hospitals charge for every band-aid, dressing, etc.

    Now the out and out cheating is where there remains a lot of investigation to find the mystery doctors and their mystery patients who get payments from these and other insurance programs.
    Some patients in these programs could help in a meaningful way in showing the administrators those things that nickel and dime the system to the tone of billions of dollars.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  123. Jerry

    No, They won't do it, congress and the senate won't agree on anything to cut. But thats what I have been worried about during this whole Health care reform. I have health care I can afford what I have, and its fine. But anymore taxes is out of the question,Tax Tax Tax. America cannot afford Health care at this time and neither can I. Its not just state and federal taxes going up its property taxes, option taxes, and inflation of food products and regular items you need at the store they are all going up considerably and why should they stop? The green light has been turned on for inflation. America Cannot aford health care at this time. Jerry/ Iowa

    September 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  124. Lynne

    Does anyone listen to President Obama's speeches? He has explained in detail the fraud and abuse in Medicare that could save millions of dollars if gotten rid of. He explained it again last week, and one could certainly understand it after 8 years of George Bush – he wasn't exactly running the government competently – talk about fraud and abuse in the government. I wish the protesters were out there when he was in office – it might have kept the country from nearly going down the tubes.
    President Obama also told us there are millions of dollars that are given to the insurance industry every year, that would not have to be handed out any longer if there is a public option. Please re-play the President's speeches and listen carefully. I notice this a lot with the media – they hear only what they want to hear. It's somehow more fun to accuse than it is to listen.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  125. Rebecca

    I actually do believe that a huge amount of money, even hundreds of billions, in waste and fraud from medicare. I know first hand of just a handful of medicare recipients who have exorbitant amounts of money spent on them for no reason, who are always seeing specialists, having expensive tests that have to be re-taken over and over as they get sent on to the next specialist; who have taken advantage of home caretakers well past the time they needed them and used tham as cooks and houskeepers. I know people, old and young on disability who act like they won the lottery when they started receiving medicare and see doctors for any and every little thing that almost invariably end in specialists and tests. The endless tests and re-doing of the same tests and the endless specialists alone if this is the norm, which it appears to me to be, counts for an enormous amount of money – even hundreds of billions. This does not even address the Medicare Advantage that all Medicare recipients are charged for and the majority do not use. And how about Medicare Part D? That program is so poorly organized and run that it is an absolute drain on the economy. There is plenty of waste and abuse rampant in every aspect of the medicare prograam.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  126. J. Crawford

    If I understand this logic, the government admits that they have created a Medicare/Medicaid program loaded with waste, fraud and abuse which they only intend to eliminate if they get their massive new spending program funded. So why should we entrust the same government to create an even bigger program which will no doubt sponsor even more waste, fraud and abuse? This is pure political balderdash, and they all know it. The funding is simply not there, and we and our children will end up paying for yet another poorly managed government program.
    J. Crawford
    Wilmington, NC

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  127. claire whitehill

    Yes, I do think billions of dollars can be saved from Medicare. This is why: since hospitals have to pay for indigents who show up in the waiting room, they overcharge Medicare as much as they can to make up for these losses. If the indigents have insurance, the hospitals will not have to charge Medicare so much. Also, eliminating Medicare Advantage (a system put in place by the Bush administration which is given huge subsidies for doing what regular Medicare does for much less) will save billions! There are other ways to save: the physical therapists should be reigned in. They order everything they can think of for a patient, whether the patient can use it or not, and charge Medicare large sums. I think the PTs, since they order so much junk, must be getting kickbacks from the companies that provide the equipment. Once again, a resounding YES!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  128. SkillzGeez

    Its possible if people were'nt so greedy....."How can I be the richest in the world"... is the life game and on the mind of many....."shoot" thats the hopeful outcome of the market... the market is a bet on making more and more money through investment gains.

    When mans attitude for financial gain can be offset or balanced with the responsability to perserving man kind, be it with out prejudice, then we may truly have a chance of running medicare and other social services well and more efficient.

    But ,I dont see that anytime soon.....

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  129. Don from Canada

    Hey, just the effort to eliminate waste will result in huge savings, because the system is so rife with waste and inefficiency.
    So what if he can't cut enough waste to completely fund health care refors? So what if taxes go up somewhat to complete the funding? Aren't the American people generous enough of heart to give up a little so that all it's citizens can have health care regardless of income?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  130. Stephanie Hastings

    Yes, we can eliminate $$$$ from Medicare. I am newly on Medicare (66)
    and surprised that private insurance companies offer ADVANTAGE
    plans which supplant Medicare for subscribers to these programs. These plans cost the US gov't more than 13% (maybe more) than the traditional Medicare plans. We're paying these private insurance companies to manage Medicare and supplemental programs. And the insurers are charging the US gov't to do this.

    We have Medicare (deducted from our social security) and a BC/BS supplement. It's seamless, thus far.
    I would favor a co-pay for Medicare members based on income and
    social security deductions for Medicare which might discourage running to the doctors for anything.
    But start with eliminating Advantage plans.
    We live in an area of Maine that is full of uninsured self-employed people. Come visit and I'll introduce you to the single divorced Mom with one child...$770 a month.
    Couple in their 40's: $27,000 in medical insurance. So, leave your white-collar milieu behind and come see what the other 3/4's pay for health insurance.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  131. Paul Diamond

    A lot has been said about tort reform. Most of the cost of malpractice is because insurance companies hardly ever fight Malpractice suits. They would rather settle the case than risk an unfavorable jury award. Then they will raise the premiums on the doctor until the doctor has to overcharge for his service or give up his practice. However, many malpractice cases have little or no merit and can be fought and won by the insurance company for a good deal less than the cost of a settlement.
    Paul Diamond
    Foley, AL

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  132. Steve, Clifton, VA

    This is a question that no "one" person in this country can answer as the system is so large, I doubt that any single person could answer your question. Certainly not "John Q Public". We as tax payers have complained of the fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicare and now that its being addressed we question it. The system is broken and is in need of fix, so lets get about the business of fixing it.

    Clifton, VA

    September 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  133. Susan

    Jack–Just an example of medicare fraud–my 12 year old had to have a vaccination for 7th grade. We went to the doctor, paid our co-pay and received a bill 4 months later. The bill showed that our insurance company paid for the vaccination and doctor through medicare! A 12 year old with medicare? I called the doctor's office, and they told me that sometimes that is how things are coded through the insurance company. If this is happening, I am sure that some money can be saved!!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  134. Jean L, TX

    Yes, it's possible and remember if the government can find a way to crack down on people abusing the system they will save a lot of money and therefore financing the health care reform with aisance. Anyway, it's better to spend money on health care for americans people than spending 12 billions monthly in a war Irak.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  135. I. B., Rocky Mount, North Carolina

    Eliminate the health insurance industry gangsters for the health care equation and we can save trillions.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  136. Curtis, Oxnard

    My question about cost is how many lives are we willing to Sacrifice to keep cost down? How many uninsured are we willing to put to death because it cost too much to keep them alive?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  137. Andre Payne

    Yes, eliminate Medicare Advantage as the President noted, get more from the drug companies for Part D Medicare.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  138. Colleen Cameron

    Yes, it is possible. I recently read the Atlantic article on health care by David Goldhill. He talks extensively about the waste. In particular, his father was killed by a sepsis infiection, after being admitted for pneumoniia. His mother was sent a bill for over $600,000. Her share was around $800. Medicare paid the rest. Instead of being in the hospital for a few days, he was in for 5 weeks during which he was taken several times for procedures intended for other patients.
    As a retired surgeon, my husband has a legion of tales about waste and stupidity that could save huge sumes of money if prevented.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  139. Bob from Richmond, VA

    I'm not sure about the totals as they are enormous. I have seen many doctors in a medium market require patients to have miltiple appointments for the same thing; seemingly because they feel Medicare does not compensate them enough on one office visit. This practice appears to be picking up steam.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  140. Kandist

    I dont know and i dont care, i'm 24 years old and my generation is already going to be paying for a war we didn't want and a bailout that did not benefit us. We're the only developed country that doesn't offer our citizens health care. This is ridiculous, we need a single payer system and we need it now.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  141. steven fusco

    Wow!!! Hundreds of billions in waste and fraud. What is the government doing about this? If they are currently doing nothing about it, shame on them. What makes government think by creating a new health care programs there will be no waste. We the people saw how well the bank bail out protected the obscene bonuses that were given with our money. Faith in government is waning.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  142. Bob Allen

    If the Democrats and Obama are so certain of these savings then why haven't they exposed the fraud already? Hot air from Washington builds mistrust in the rest of the country.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  143. Clvrgrl7

    It is because I am a Medicare recipient and I have have two doctors busted for stealing. The program needs more investigators however!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  144. Rob

    So we're going to fund a comprehensive national health care plan by reducing waste in our current limited health care plan? Just imagine what we'll be able to fund, years from now, with the fraud and abuse of the new plan.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  145. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    Why just Medicare? The health industry as a whole is loaded with waste. This waste comes in the guise of excessive profits by the Insurance Companies; Malpractice and Health Insurance alike. Don't forget the Drug Companies and the Medical Device Companies. What about Malpractice Attorneys and frivalous lawsuits for millions of dollars? Health Care Reform must take place first and foremost by driving down these costs first!!! After these costs are brought under control then put appropiate legistration in place. We need to identify exactly what these problems are, not just throw $900 Billion at the problem and hope it goes away!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  146. Charles Meana


    Forget about that. You can get lots more money by eliminating the waste and fraud in medical insurance companies. Even better just eliminate the insurance companies and save hundreds of billions of dollars.


    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  147. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: Yes, there is ample room to save money from medicare costs. Many doctors charge by the procedure and often load up their patients with tests that are just not necessary. We are all paying for these tests.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  148. Betty

    Hi Jack,

    I'm working at home today, and heard your question. I'm an economist. One simple fact I hope helps: Americans spend TWICE as much per capital on health care than citizens in other industrial countries. Twice. And we do not cover everyone. None of the health statistics show we are healthier. Indeed just the opposite. So why do we allow this?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  149. Keith

    Give us a break. There is no silver bullet here. This is just one of the 5 or 10 humongous systemic problems that we've built into our system over the past 50 or 60 years (education, money-driven-politics, health etc),. It's pretty obvious that the only way we're ever going to reduce costs is to start with substantial systemic changes and keep our noses to the grindstone until the system works effectively. This will require on-going tuning and changes and congress (being at the center of one of those key systemic problems) is obviously not an objective arbitor...........nor is it capable of focusing for more that a couple of sound bites without fear of losing some of those cushy contributions.

    This change that we need cannot be accomplished if the change is driven by a panopoly of competing profit-centered monopolies, ie, greed. Let's get the country on track with a solid, cost effective education system and a solid health care system that serves the PUBLIC.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  150. liz

    Yes!!! I use a bi-pap machine when I questioned my provider why agter 3 yrs. the unit was not paid for $250 from insurance $260 copay a month I was told I have to pay the same as Medicare or the charges to midicare would br considered fraud. I was also told that they would drop my co-pay. I think tere is plenyty of over charging going on.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  151. Sebastian Shaw

    Sure, it's possible to reduce waste and fraud; the question is: Do we have the political will to do so? There is a lot of profit to be squeezed from such waste, and the profiteers will do everything in their power to prevent change.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  152. ken

    Yes, waste and fraud can be eliminated from medicare, and it will save the taxpayers billions. It will take hundreds of investigators and cash rewards for snitches, but it can be done. The only question is whether this administration has the will to do it. All I hear from this administration are things like" I accept your apology , we have to look forward, and it would be bad for morale". If you want to stop fraud you must prosecute, fine, and jail. Voluntary compliance does not work. If it did we would not need police, and the jails would be empty.


    September 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  153. Mary Jo

    Until we come up with a new breed of human being, no matter what the system there are going to be people who will try to get something for nothing. They can be doctors; they can be patients; they can be insurance companies; they can even be people in the government. This is precisely why the consistent Republican cry of eliminating oversight is contrary to simple common sense. There are too many among us who will not do what is right until and unless somebody makes them. So, yes, there is, I am sure, plenty of waste, fraud and abuse is the Medicare system, and it is going to take government oversight and some reforms to curtail it.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  154. Mary from Oregon

    Jack, absolutely. Reference a CNN story about Medicare and power wheelchairs from 9/2/09 – $3k-$5k overpayment for those leases. I have had personal experience as surrogate for my mother and father in dealing with medicare and the durable medical equipment leases and purchases. Scams and wasted money galore. Recover billions in waste – easy! if someone would care enough to do so.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  155. Merritt Agabian

    Jack- Get real. I recently had cateract operations. The anestelogist came in and said how are you feeling after a technetion applied eye drops into my eye. She was there for two minutes and submitted a bill for $1,158 and medicare paid $119 When I inquire of Medicare why she could charge $1158 And who would pay that amount I was told that some insurance companies would pay that- it depended on their policy. Can you imagine how much could be saved with a public option?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  156. Paul Diamond

    In my life I have had the best private health care available through labor unions. I have been on Medicare and I am currently covered by a privately operated Medicare Advantage health insurance.
    I can tell you that my medicare was the best run and best coverage of them all. Currently there are 'death panels,' rationed health care, inadequate healthcare plans, and millions of people who are denied coverage. That is all coming from private for profit Healthcare insurers.
    Paul Diamond
    Foley, AL

    September 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  157. SkillzGeez, Philadelphia

    Its possible if people were’nt so greedy…..”How can I be the richest in the world”… is the life game and on the mind of many…..”shoot” thats the hopeful outcome of the market… the market is a bet on making more and more money through investment gains.

    When mans attitude for financial gain can be offset or balanced with the responsability to perserving man kind, be it with out prejudice, then we may truly have a chance of running medicare and other social services well and more efficient.

    But ,I dont see that anytime soon…..

    September 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  158. Jasmine in Germany

    Yes, I do. Medicare has been abused since its conception. Wake up America!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  159. pam-georgia

    It is definately possible. One year after my mother-in-law died, her daughter received a medicare statement. A doctor in a nearby town had charged them for a check-up. She called the doctor's office and questioned the receptionist without mentioning her mom's death. The receptionist absolutely affirmed that her mother had been in for a checkup. She finally sprang the news on her that it was impossible as her mother had died the previous year. The receptionist tapped danced all over the place. My sister-in-law reported the doctor to Medicare. I don't know if anything was done or not. Perhaps there should be a place where Medicare fraud could be reported and followed up on. You might also notice that when Medicare pays for the motorized wheelchairs, the price usually doubles.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  160. Luis Bravo

    Its 90 billion dollars a year savings/cuts that we need to "pay" for Health care Reform. Yes, WE CAN if we cut out Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse. The Plan also calls for raising taxes on high-end "cadillac" policies and the plan would also bring in billions of dollars from the uninsured as the health plan law would require every American to pay for insurance on some sliding scale. I know that all of the above combined can save and increase revenues by 90 billion a year. If we fall short all we need to do is make it up by reducing the Defense Budget by one percent, or we can notify Banks that received bail out funds that their new interest rate is 28% effective in 45 days. Miami Florida.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  161. keith ,lancaster ky

    sure it's very possible to do it, the question is can the goverment do the work necessary to get the job done, and the answer to that is, they would spend 1.5 trillion to save 900 billion!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  162. john j monson

    The only way to eliminate all the waste in medicare/medicaid is to start from scratch. Nobody seems to want the government to do anything about it, but they fail to realize that they are already govenment programs to begin with. Go figure.
    concerned in the highest unemployment state Michigan. John

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  163. Joe from Jersey

    Jack, If we stop giving away those cute motorized chairs that cost a fortune and discourage overweight people to walk then take all the supposed"Bipolar" people off medicaid that are high on drugs and pretend they can't work ,we could save Millions of tax dollars.
    In my neighborhood alone I know of four drug users and one drunk who are all on SSI thanks to the constant commercials from law firms specialising in Social security disability. Disgusting abuse of the system.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  164. Dr. Jonathan from NYC

    If you think that cost cutting will be the answer, you must also believe that Obama's stimulus package will save or create 2 million jobs..., whatever that means.

    As a NY City doctor who cares for patients on either Medicaid or Medicare, I see the only additional way to cut costs is to further reduce the already limited health care for the poor and elderly.

    Tort reform would decrease the huge amount of unnecessary testing and procedures in "defensive medicine," reduce frivolous lawsuits and the associated multimillion dollar payouts and decrease my $250000 malpractice premium for practicing my high risk specialty in New York

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  165. ray e thorpe

    Jack, You must be kidding, this congress couldn't eliminate waste on tolet paper in the congress washrooms. If they want to eliminate waste they should get rid of half of the congress, who are nothing more than a bunch of dead beats. The facts are this legislation will cost everyone, heres a thought why not put a two cent federal tax on everything sold in the country, it would amount to billions with everyone paying thier share.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  166. John Kelley

    On my part it is an act of faith believing that health reform can eliminate waste and fraud. We have no choice. If we do not do anything the consequences are catastrophic. Health Insurance premiums alone are going through the roof. The complete backwardness of medical information moving between doctors is an outrage. I discovered that when I had a heart catharization. My cardiologist did not have my latest blood work report even after I asked my GP to send it to my cardilogist. And when I asked my GP if had received reports from my cardiologist he said no!!!
    Whether this government reveals the specifics, or not, the problems of health care can not wait any longer in being solved. You will lose more by not doing anything and our country could be in worst shape ten years from now.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  167. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    The health care system has become our system of state intervention in the economy . The government quite naturally turns to this method when it is necessary to get the country moving again. Never underestimate the power of cash,Jack.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  168. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    Mr. Steele should simply respect the opinion expressed by President Carter such as the ones also expressed from Mr. Clyde and others! The expression of liberal seems to think they know best what is racism is a real joke to hear this from anyone! And the comment that his generation does not hear the same...well he does not speak for a generation and he hears his own points of views and experiences...and simply need to learn to hear and respect others equally expression of their views. The idea that people can not point out there when there is racism than where is the individual freedom of expression and where is people's right to live in dignity : two very universal values worthy of all its expressions!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  169. Jeff

    Health reform can save billions of dollars of waste, but only with TORT REFORM. As a medical professional I witness first hand the number of studies which are ordered "for documentation" so that attorneys are discouraged from frivolous lawsuits. This is money that could be saved. Aggressive attorneys have profoundly changed medical practice in this country. The unnecessary costs are astronomical.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  170. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,if it is possible, why hasn't it been done?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  171. Jim MacKay

    Hi Jack – I don't think we can have "big government" in this country without fraud, waste, party politics and private interests in control of elected representative's votes. I think President Obama just might be the ticket to changing big government's elected officials from other-serving puppets to actually serving their country and constituents. Yes, I think it is possible to eliminate many hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud and that's before lunch tomorrow!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  172. Heather Mash

    Yes, I do think its possible to cut waste. Insurance companies have got a sweet deal with Medicare we are as tax payers supplimenting them for offering and as consumers looking for additional coverage buying insurance from them. I'm now getting calls from these people offering to lower my rates. Do you think that would happen if Public Option wasn't a possiblity?
    Within Medicare there needs to be better organization, less administration hands to go through and more direct pay. I as a consumer also want to know what I'm paying to make sure it isn't a rip off. This is the first time in my life time that anyone has looked at insurance costs for everyone, trying to reduced health care costs in a serious way. Why does anyone want to continue using greedy Insurance co., Financial corps are sill doing biz as usual, insurance companies will too if public option isn't put in place

    September 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  173. Charles Majure

    I am 74 years old – retired US Navy and have lived in many places. I have seen how doctors keep people in their waiting rooms so that their time is not wasted waiting for a patient to arrive. So that they make the money they feel entitled to.
    Here is an example: In Nebraska where I lived for 3 years, my GP did not have a crowded waiting room so he would not accept an order for a prescription renewal by phone. You had to make an appointment to have the renewal written. When lab results came to his office, no one from his office would call you and give you the results by phone. You had to make an appointment to discuss the results.
    In Florida where I now live my doctor has a pletiful supply of older patients and never has a wait between patients. So, he will take prescription renewal requests by phone and you will get a return call when the prescription is ready to be picked up. When lab results come to his office, he reviews them and tells one of his office employees to call you and give you the results along with any comment the doctor may wish to add.
    I have seen two specialists here in Florida, having been advised to see them by my GP. After resolution of the problems, each wants to keep seeig me every three or four months, ad infinitum. I told them I would call if I had a recurrance of the problems.
    Some doctors keep in mind the cost to the insurer (medicare and tricare in my case), but others think only of their bottom line.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  174. STAN - IL.

    I sure hope so. I get so tired of the Republicans running this down, when they didn't get anything fixed in 20 years out of the last 28. They could care less about the people who need help, they only want to give the tax cuts to the rich and take care of the insurance company's. Tell me one thing that they did for the middle and poor class.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  175. John in New Albany

    Fraud? What's that?! There's no fraud in Medicare!! Just a bunch of LAZY! Same goes for Social Security (disability).

    September 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  176. RK in Houston

    The obvious question to me is: If our government cant stop fraud and waste in the medicare, medicaid programs. How are they going to stop it in a government run health care program.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  177. Terry, Ft. Bragg

    Yes... At least five other nations are living proof that our health care dollars are missing the mark very badly. It just a matter of holding accountable the clowns in Congress who have sold out to the profiteers. A loud 3.9 million dollars in Montana might be a good thing to look into.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  178. deemarie Seet Home, Oregon

    First off, we have our health system set up backwards. It should be pre-natal to those under 30y/o who should get medicare or the lion's share of medical moneys.

    Answer to ?: Yes, if everyone else is experiencing what I have been with my parents in the past 14 yrs. In my fathers case alone the waste, am guessing, would add up to >100,000.
    I've written my congressmen specifically about this in detail months ago. I couldn't possible post it all here. It's just too much.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  179. Peter D'Anna

    Jack: How quickly we forget. The Medicare Modernization Act which brought us Part D "Prescription Drug Benefits" during the Bush administration was a classic "gift" to the Health care industry. Passed in the middle of the night after a 30 minute vote that was held open for three hours to secure the one vote necessary to pass. That law explicitly precludes low bid contracting for drugs. That law provides for a 14 – 20% incenative over cost for private health insurance companies to enter the Medciare Advantage market. The only true advantage was to the insurance companies for a bonus above the basic fee for service costs. The then Secretary of HHS left government soon after passage TO WORK FOR THE INDUSTRY. Later investigations by IG & GAO document all the Waste and fraud in Part D alone since day one. Leaving the consumer with a "Doughnut Hole" of uncovered RX costs.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  180. Jean Fenel Oleus

    I think it's possible but until the bill is passed, it's really impossible and doing that without the whole reform only will badly impact the economy.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  181. Dennis


    Come on...thanks to the former President Bush the insurance companies currently are receiving hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies from our government. That's where Obama is talking about getting the bulk of savings by taking back these subsidies the insurance and drug companies are receiving . Oh did I mention that these subsidies were not part of the Budget and therefore not paid for under President Bush and are currently adding to our national debt.
    We really need a public option in whatever plan gets passed!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  182. Larry P. in Pasadena, Ca.

    No, not from Medicare alone. If our government was somewhat more competent at policing it's own programs, then maybe. Unfortunately, the government's inability to effectively monitor and control waste, as well as it's unwillingness to assign blame and act accordingly to fix problems, borders on national narcissism! When politicians learn to stop covering up mistakes and blunders and focus on enforcement of the policies and guidelines that they create, then maybe they can get some of the waste and fraud under control. Just as important, crack down on these big insurance companies for allowing their costs to skyrocket due to massive overcharging and blatently shameless greed, all at our expense!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  183. Jeff


    The only thing that would seem to cut the costs of the entire healthcare initiative would be the "mandated coverage for all". Although controversial and hard to swallow, incorporating everyone into the system would lower costs. More payers, especially young and potentially healthier members of the group would provide more money into the fund. Also, by everyone being covered, emergency room care could decrease by opening access to primary care providers and increasing preventative care. The overall goal to a cheaper healthcare system ultimately lies in a healthier nation, and that will take a generation to achieve. We are talking about a lifestyle change in America. A great change in school lunch programs and increased promotion of fitness in the workplace will get the biggest bang for our healthcare dollar.

    Jeff in Dallas

    September 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  184. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    Sure it is "possible", for example and on a smaller scale I plan to buy a new fuel efficient car and a green home in three years by a green process known as "self denial". This is like abstinence but in a highly organized program. Instead of gallons of water to shower and flush, I am going to just use a wet rag for the former and the woods across the street for the latter. Then for food I will eat fresh road kill as we live on a 35 mph street where the majority including local law enforcement do about 50 mph plus. I will cook this food on the charcoal grill using left over charcoal I cooled down in an airtight can from the skunk steaks yesterday. And that is like, how you can do it for the healthcare program.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  185. Nestor, Austin, TX


    I'm sure this government could find that much in fraud, waste and abuse. The agency they'd use though would cost at least as much as they save. #1 rule of the Federal Government: Never cut spending. If you save money somewhere, spend it somewhere else.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  186. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Thanks to the best team...take good care!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  187. Heather Mash

    It has been identified that there is a problem with all Health Care in this country. Yes, I believe there are savings to be made not only with fraud in Medicare bud fraud by insurance companies that have a strangle hold on consumers. I just got a call from my medicare gap coverage insurance company that wants to LOWER my rates by $77.82 to
    $80 a month. Gosh, wonder why they called and didn't just lower my rate on my next billing?
    Insurance co. out of control for long time just like financial corp.
    There's lots of money to be saved in Health Care or these companies would not be spending so much to stop Public Options.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  188. Joe

    The fraud eliminated if any will be replaced by new fraud in the new bill. Federal hand-outs have no limit and fraudulent folks will get all they can. Obama is a naieve thinker on this one.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  189. ed Hutchins

    No not possible in short term. However these savings will be realized if those 40 and 50 somethings get care today because they will break the medicare bank when they show up at 65 to treat serious problems. Of course we can hope that most will die before they get there and keep medicare solvent!

    I have 4 college educated kids -none with health care!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  190. Roger

    Like you Jack, I wonder where the money will come from, but keeping in mind the $600 hammers and toilet seats in the military a few years ago the waste and fraud come as no surprise to me. Bad things happen when good people do nothing to expose what is probably going on in health care today. Roger Klamath Falls, OR

    September 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  191. Gretchen Thomas

    That would require our elected officials to do their jobs and work together constructively and fairly, they currently seem to be unable to function in that capacity. I'm convinced there must be billions of dollars of waste and fraud in every sector of government spending, authorized by the same folks who we now expect to fix things. Is that messed up, or what?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  192. newton

    yes I do yes Jack I know its hard to blieve but if Bush was saying that I bet they would believe people just don't like who it is thats doing it .And you know what WE KNOW THE TRUETH don't we

    September 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  193. Simonsays/Orlando

    If they could, why aren't they doing it now? What are they waiting for?
    This seems like a bogus claim aimed at selling the health care package.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  194. SteveG

    If Newt Gingrich wasn't lying, then the amount of savings he says is possible WOULD pay for this entire bill.

    IF the republicans were serious about reform and knows how to cut and lower cost, WHY haven't they done it before now? Why?

    If "they: know how to fix the financial problems why did "they" allow us to get into the problem?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  195. Ken Barlow

    Take business out of the equation. Allow physician and patient to determine the appropriate treatment procedures and medications through medicare patient accounts.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  196. Michael Nelson

    MY wife is diasbled. She is on medicare. We receive statements which show doctors and hospitals double bill. Even triple bill. She has caught this many times and reports it. A few probably have gotten by. How many people keep track of this? They drain the system.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  197. Larry

    Yes, there is an undercurrent of racisim in the retoric of the "birthers" and "Teabaggers". What makes America great is it's ability to overcome it's basest most animal and primative instincts to a more christian and civilized example. Yet, unfortunately, some are not so sensible. .... And there is plenty of "rabblerousing" going on with Beck and Rush. I hope stupid people will not do something REALLY stupid. We will REALLY be an example to the world if this gets out of hand!! An example of how a powerful country with great potential becomes a wasteland!!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  198. Roger

    I have a decent employer paid insurance for myself and family. This will work for me as long as I have a job. I pay very less for this insurance, but i pay 10 times more for medicare, from which i get nothing. I am not eligible for medicare for the next 30 years.
    Why would i not support government sponsored insurance when i am out of job? Why should i support medicare instead?
    Republicans do not believe in abortion, but they believe in prolonging a 90 year old's life by artificial methods. Dick cheney lived with a pace maker for this long, and look at the damage he created!!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  199. Mary Thomas

    Here's a healthcare cost saving fact. In 2008, I switched from Medicare Advantage(Aetna)to straight Medicare plus prescription drug coverage with United Health Care when I finally figured out that services Aetna offered was no more than what medicare provided. I saved myself $2,700 that year by dropping Medicare Advantage. Now, here's the hard part for me. Since there are 46-47 million medicare enrolles, what would have been the total saving that year had 46-47 million enrolles took the same action I did. Of course, some may have saved less and some more. But you must admit the amount would have been huge–too huge for me to calculate using pencil and paper after my calculator crashed. So you do the math.

    Baltimore, MD

    September 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  200. Joel Garza

    Healthcare Reform or Insurance Recovery Act?

    Is the plan to reform the healthcare system or is it only to guarantee a larger customer base for insurance companies?

    The problem with healthcare in America today is not only that too many people are uninsured, but actually that those who are insured do not receive sufficient coverage. Today's insurance system gives the appearance to cover the young and the healthy, and they are well-covered as long as they do not get a disabling illness. If you get disabled to the point that you can no longer work, you can no longer pay for insurance. Also, if it is a major illness, you will not be able to meet the deductible and will not be able to afford care.

    Healthcare insurance is already doing a very poor job as it is, a plan to force all Americans into the same poor coverage will only make an already bad situation much worse.

    What we need is a system that will guarantee health care to all Americans regardless of income or medical conditions.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  201. Karen, TN

    Impossible. That would require personal responsibility, which we lack, competence, which is in short supply, and the absence of avarice, which we have in abundance.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  202. Joe

    If there has been billions of dollars of fraud in the current medicare system there will be a proportionate amount of fraud in the new bill. Federal programs almost always have fraudulent receivers of the handouts. There is no way the next frauds can be paid for by eliminating the past frauds. Who'e is Obama kidding?

    September 16, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  203. Eric

    PLENTY of people including doctors in your blog have stated the obvious: scrap Medicare Advantage and Scrap the current Medicare Part D, the "advantage" patients should go back to "regular" Medicare and the Part D should go to a VA or IHS (Indian Health Service) plan which focuses on "formularies" and generic drugs.

    There are hundreds of billions of waste in these programs – mostly tax dollars going to Drug and Insurance companies. Where are the Republican voices to scrap / revise these programs??!!??

    September 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  204. TC3 from NC

    Pres. Obama has sunk money into tangible things. He has stabilized the credit markets, hopefully. He has kept the U.S. car manufacturers afloat. The stimulus package has begun some much needed road repairs. Does anyone remember the bridge collapse in Minnesota? The stimulus package is providing continued educational programs to American children. Now he wants to provide Americans with healthcare these are all tangible things that we can measure. Americans will be healthier, better educated, and have better infrastucture than before. What did you get out of Bush's presidency ??? Not even a WMD!

    September 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  205. WBN

    This is such a joke. If it's possible, we don't want the same government running a complete health program that is inept with respect to Medicare; if it's not possible, such a nationalized health plan could never be affordable.

    September 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm |