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January 26, 2022

The Enablers of Entitlement Fraud

More than one out of every five Medicaid dollars goes to someone who’s ineligible.

We don’t know who did it first, but surely in the earliest days of our Republic there was some shyster who figured out a way to game the system and keep his ill-gotten gains without being caught. That mindset continues to this day, but the problem is that the honeypot is so massive that the government can’t possibly rein in the fraud and, while a few people are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, many more get all the good, soft chocolate chip or peanut butter ones.

The problem is so rampant in the Medicaid program right now that a sampling of cooperative states done by Hayden Dublois and Jonathan Ingram of the Foundation for Government Accountability shows that more than one out of every five Medicaid dollars goes to someone who’s ineligible.

“Virtually all improper payments are due to eligibility errors, administrative oversights, or outright fraud,” they write. “And because eligibility errors make up more than 80 percent of improper payments, countless individuals are receiving Medicaid benefits for which they are not eligible.” They also add, “Equally concerning is that an overwhelming number of improper payments are due to eligibility errors, signaling that these are not simply administrative blunders.” It’s worth noting that, according to Dublois and Ingram, the improper payment rate for Medicaid has surged from 5.8% in 2013 to 21.7% last year.

This data did not escape the notice of The Wall Street Journal, which editorialized that before the government takes on Joe Biden’s so-called “Build Back Better” behemoth, AKA “Build Back Bolshevik” — our moniker is more apt than theirs — perhaps they should work to get the Medicaid house in order. The Journal warns, “Before Congress spends billions of dollars on tomorrow’s Great Society, it should deal with the fact that Medicaid cannot account for more than $1 out of every $5 it spends.”

And as if the Medicare fraud wasn’t enough, we’re getting more and more reports about criminal grifters trying to cut themselves a piece of the COVID relief pie they don’t deserve — to the tune of almost $100 billion. In just the last few weeks, we’ve heard about schemes from college football players claiming to be unemployed and of Marilyn Mosby, state’s attorney for the City of Baltimore, being accused of scamming up $90,000 in order to make down payments on not just one, but two Florida vacation homes. Mosby, who is paid $248,000 a year, is on the docket for allegedly claiming COVID-related financial hardship in order to make those early withdrawals from her retirement account.

And it’s not just Americans trying to fleece the government. Power Line’s John Hinderaker recently detailed a COVID scam perpetrated by members of Minnesota’s Somali community. This scheme shamefully involved money intended to feed children that instead paid for homes, cars, and travel by those accused of the fraud. Considering they hail from what’s been considered the most corrupt nation in the world, though, perhaps graft is all they know.

Regardless, as Hinderaker concludes, “American taxpayers are the biggest suckers in world history.” But some of the blame has to go to the bad apple bureaucrats at the state and federal level who don’t want to cut themselves out of the easy job of pushing paper by doing the work of making sure people are eligible and spend their funding properly.

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