Bass & Guinta Commit Medicare Fraud

Amid all the partisan hand-wringing and fear-mongering in the debate over the future of Medicare, both sides should be able to agree on one fact: Medicare as we know it is unsustainable if health care costs continue to skyrocket.

Congressman Frank Guinta acknowledges this and responds saying, “The failure is to not act.” So what action do he and fellow Congressman Charlie Bass take? They vote to do away with a key program specifically designed to keep Medicare costs from zooming out of control!

The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) would make recommendations to Congress to help reduce Medicare costs. The board only acts if the projected growth rate of Medicare exceeds targets; it is prohibited from recommending policies that ration care, raise taxes, increase premiums, restrict benefits or change eligibility requirements; and its recommendations are subject to Congressional approval.

Bass and Guinta both proudly voted to eliminate the IPAB. How did they justify their votes? Demagoguery. "IPAB wedges a bureaucrat between the doctor and patient," declared Bass:

What is most alarming, however, is the complete lack of accountability that this board would have to Congress or the general public. … Simply put, the IPAB wedges a bureaucrat between the doctor and patient in the health care decision-making process, limiting patient options and the doctor's freedom to effectively care for his or her patients.

The board would “greatly restrict” access to health care, echoed Guinta:

IPAB is tasked with reducing medical costs, and it would do that by restricting healthcare access for seniors. Granite State seniors deserve better than a 15 member panel of unelected bureaucrats intruding into their relationship with their doctor. They shouldn’t have to cut through red tape just to get the medical care they need….

Writing in Forbes, Rick Ungar calls repeal of the IPAB a “giant Medicare fraud.”

Sometimes, the willingness of Congress to so blatantly act on behalf of special interests to the out-and-out detriment of the average American — or to waste time and frighten the taxpayer all for the benefit of a good political narrative — astounds even me.

According to the House GOP, other political players and the storied think tanks whose pockets are lined by special interests such as the pharmaceutical companies, hospital associations, or just about anyone who might lose a few bucks if someone has to actually do something to get medical costs under control, this IPAB is the mechanism that the socialists (and you know who you are) will use to ration our healthcare.

Except, as the facts would have it, it turns out that this small board of medical experts can’t ration a thing — whether they want to or not.

For the record, the Center for Responsive Politics reports Guinta has raised over $97,000 in campaign contributions from the insurance industry, $56,000 from health professionals and $30,000 from hospitals and nursing homes. In the last two campaign cycles, Bass has pulled in almost $64,000 from health professionals, $64,000 from the insurance industry and $47,000 from the pharmaceutical industry.

Adapted from a post that first appeared in Miscellany Blue.

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6 Responses to Bass & Guinta Commit Medicare Fraud

  1. elwood April 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    to dream that there is not already a bureaucrat, working for an insurance company, between the patient and doctor.

    • JillSH April 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

      who are trying to dictate what a doctor can say to or do for her patient.

  2. hannah April 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Medicare fraud is to commit a fraud on the Medicare program by submitting false claims for goods not delivered or services not provided.  There has been plenty of that, perpetrated by doctors and providers and complicit insurance companies.  But, since Frankie used to be in insurance, ratting out his buddies is not in Frankie’s interest. Better to muddy the issue, just as they do with “voter fraud,” which isn’t, either.  Calling something what it isn’t is a good way to obfuscate the real issue.
    The real issue is making sure middlemen such as insurance companies don’t get paid for providing no benefit to people who need medical or preventive care. By mandating the allowable overhead insurance companies can collect for managing policies and payments, the ACA has restricted the income stream of insurance companies and by proposing to review the rates charged by hospitals and other institutional providers of care, the Independent Payment Advisory Board is going to restrict the provider revenue stream in the interest of insuring that patients actually get good value for dollars spent.

    What we need to be cognizant of is that the “contributions” from the insurance and medical industry are solicited by the candidate.  Hardly anyone sends money unasked.  And, in point of fact, the piddling sums being forwarded by the corporations are just token representations of the workforce that’s going to be harnessed to “vote right” by the prospect of losing jobs, if the profit stream of the corporate entity is restricted.

    Which is why health care professionals are reluctant to be identified as supporting Democrats, lest their professional relationships be jeopardized.  That’s going to be a problem as long as medical care is a profit center.

  3. Tedmom April 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    While Bass/Guinta wanted to restrict health insurance from covering contraception and their GOP buddies in the state legislature are doing all they can to interfere with a woman’s confidential relationship with her doctor and allowing employers to dictate whether they will allow their insurance to pay for contraception, Bass/Guinta vote to end medicare oversight based on a claim they don’t want government to interfere with the doctor/patient relationship?  Hypocrites all of them.

    • hannah April 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      cause and effect.

  4. Chaz Proulx April 3, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Frank and Charlie live in the narrowest of worlds. Sound bites and deception trumps any kind of logic every time.

    What a bleak universe they inhabit.

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