Tharp: Government Controlled Health Care? They are Colossal Failures Every Time They Try!

Anyone who thinks the Federal Government should be involved in our health care and insurance purchasing decisions need only study their miserable track record to see how misguided that would be.

Tharp: Government Controlled Health Care? They are Colossal Failures Every Time They Try!
By J. Allen Tharp

     By J. Allen Tharp

I have previously covered many reasons why politicians and the Federal Government should never control health care or insurance purchasing decisions.  A general overarching reason though is that they are just not good at it. In fact, saying they are not good at it is a monumental understatement. They are colossal failures every time they try. 

The myriad of problems that have been so prevalent in the Veterans Administration are a manifestation of how poorly the Federal Government’s track record is when it comes to managing health care. Despite the fact that the budget for the VA has increased by 86% from 2009 to 2017, the quality of service provided seems to have gotten worse. The President’s 2017 budget includes $182 billion for the Veterans Administration, so obviously a lack of funding is not the problem. The problem is that the Federal Government is incapable of providing the level of service our Veterans deserve.  Consequently, rather than allocating hundreds of billions of more tax dollars to be wasted by incompetent bureaucrats, it is time we move toward privatizing the Veterans Administration. 

Then look at how poorly the Federal Government manages the Medicaid program, for example. They know the program is going broke, but do they take steps to cut Medicaid spending? No. Instead, they expand Medicaid coverage under the program.

In 2015 a federal audit revealed that they had blown $109 billion that year to promote and expand the Medicaid program. These tax dollars were not spent to provide medical care to the poor. Instead they were wasted on advertising to get more people enrolled in Medicaid. Laughably all this unnecessary spending was also supposed to somehow miraculously improve care, increase efficiency, and reduce cost.

Each year the amount of advertising money spent by the Medicaid bureaucrats to promote their program increases. Spending for this nonsense ballooned from $29 billion in 2009 to $109 billion in 2015.  As of 2015 we were spending $541 billion federal and state dollars on Medicaid, yet dismal outcomes for patients have not improved, and the percentage of doctors accepting Medicaid patients has decreased. 

At the end of 2013 California withdrew $1.3 billion more in federal matching funds for its program than it reported in actual expenditures.  CMS said that California could not account for the difference, but it was related to the money spent on promoting Medicaid. 

Recently Judicial Watch reported that an HHS IG probe found that Medicaid had spent over $26 million providing dead people with health insurance in Florida alone. Multiply that by the number of states covered, and you are likely talking about over another billion dollars wasted on insuring the dead. 

We all saw the news reports a few years ago when the GAO uncovered tens of thousands of cases of fraud in the Medicaid prescription drug program in a handful of states. When the Federal Government devised a program to combat fraud though, the program cost taxpayers five times more than the amount of scams identified. In 2012 Judicial Watch reported that the National Medicaid Audit Program cost $102 million to operate but identified only $19.4 million in overpayments.

Anyone who thinks the Federal Government should be involved in our health care and insurance purchasing decisions need only study their miserable track record to see how misguided that would be.

Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Please honor attribution.

Allen is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the San Antonio-based Allen Tharp LLC and the Olde England’s Lion & Rose, as well as a minority partner in a chain of quick-service chicken restaurants called Golden Chick. It is noteworthy that Allen’s endeavors provide approximately 1,000 local jobs to San Antonians and pump almost $30 million into the local economy annually.
Having worked for over 27 years with the restaurant industry, he has served as a liaison for government and legislative affairs, as a speaker at various restaurant industry conferences, and is an active member of the president’s forum within his industry’s professional association. Mr. Tharp holds a B.A. degree in political science.

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