Medicare Spent Millions On Dead Patients And Illegal Immigrants

In case you missed it during the week, Medicare wasted millions of dollars on payments for dead people and illegal immigrants. Expect this sort of thing to get worse as they add hundreds of thousands of new recipients to Medicaid.

Medicare paid $23 million for dead patients in 2011 and $29 million for drug benefits for illegal immigrants from 2009 to 2011, according to a report Thursday from the Health and Human Services inspector general.

The investigators said Medicare has safeguards to try to stop payments to dead patients, but it still ended up sending out the $23 million anyway.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the same agency that is struggling to fix the broken Obamacare website — acknowledged the problems and said it will try to take steps to fix them.

“We agree that in cases where the information indicates an individual is not lawfully present in the United States, that individual should not be permitted to enroll or to remain enrolled in a Part D plan during the period where he or she is not eligible to receive federal benefits,” Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of CMS, said in response to the report about illegal immigrants getting benefits.

The payouts aren’t large — they amount to just a fraction of a percent of what Medicare pays each year in benefits. Still, the investigators said the agency should take steps to crack down.

In one of its reports the inspector general said 4,139 illegal immigrants were able to make 279,056 drug benefit claims. (Read More)

The payouts might not be large in relation to the entire budget, but $52 million is nothing to sneeze at. Just think if the government took the money they waste every year and simply used that to buy health insurance for those who needed it. This Obamacare debacle could have been avoided altogether. Oh wait, I forgot, Obamacare was never about helping people obtain health insurance, it was about taking it over and destroying it.