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Medicaid Blew $26 Mil on Health Coverage for Dead People
The government spent a breathtaking $26 million to provide dead people—who were poor when they were alive—with health insurance in one state alone, according to a new federal audit. The benefit was administered through Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the needy and the astonishing multi-million-dollar figure applies to just Florida but similar atrocities are likely occurring in other states.
American taxpayers may wonder how this could possibly happen, though fraud and corruption are rampant in government, especially in welfare programs. First let’s explain how Medicaid, jointly funded by federal and state governments, functions. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administers the program at the federal level. States must create CMS-approved plans to run their Medicaid programs, which provide low-income residents with medical coverage. In some states, such as Florida, the government contracts with insurance companies and makes fixed monthly payments to provide coverage. In Florida 37 insurance companies have contracts to provide coverage.
In this case, the government continued making payments to the insurance companies long after the beneficiaries had passed away. In other words, the government doled out huge sums to provide dead people with medical insurance for years. The astounding figures were made public recently in a report issued by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General, which blamed the outrageous waste on lack of collaboration between various state agencies and outdated information in databases. In some of the overpayment cases, investigators found that the state was “not able to explain the reasons they occurred.”
The investigation covered a five-year period from 2009 to 2014 and reviewed a sample of 124 payments to Medicaid insurers for subjects that had died. Of the 124, the inspector general determined that 113 were overpaid at a cost to the government of $192,273. Using that formula, auditors estimated that the state paid $26,202,536 over the five-year period to provide dead people with taxpayer-funded health insurance. This occurred because Florida officials failed to update the death dates of beneficiaries in its Medicaid database, the probe found, so the payments kept rolling. “The State agency had inadequate policies and procedures to identify and correct inaccurate death information,” the report states. As is the case in other states, the feds cover about 60% of Florida’s Medicaid tab so in this instance Uncle Sam got fleeced out of $15,356,486.
The government spent an eye-popping $545.1 billion on Medicaid in 2015, according to National Health Expenditure Data made available by CMS. California’s annual Medicaid costs are top in the nation at $85.6 million followed by New York at $60 million and Texas at $36 million. It’s hardly surprising that states with large immigrant populations have the biggest Medicaid tabs. Though federal law prohibits illegal aliens from receiving Medicaid benefits, some states, like Massachusetts, openly provide illegal aliens with publicly-funded health coverage through its Medicaid agency known as MassHealth. Additionally, Medicaid has a multi-billion-dollar slush fund to offer illegal immigrants “emergency” coverage. Furthermore, the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens (anchor babies) automatically qualify for Medicaid.
Fraud in this colossal healthcare program has been pervasive for years and things only got worse with the implementation of President Obama’s disastrous healthcare overhaul. CMS was in charge of Obamacare’s tumultuous implementation and catastrophic health exchange website yet the government officials who screwed up quietly received tens of thousands of dollars in performance bonuses and other taxpayer-funded perks. Judicial Watch obtained records that show Medicaid officials who played a significant role in the healthcare law’s failures were handsomely rewarded with large sums of cash and generous amounts of paid time off on the public’s dime. Many have left their lucrative federal government jobs for the private sector.
Seven Banks Fined in Swiss Probes of Rate-Rigging Cartels
Cindy Roberts and Donal Griffin Bloomberg.com
December 21, 2016, 2:48 AM EST December 21, 2016, 5:57 AM EST
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JPMorgan Chase & Co. was fined 33.9 million francs ($33 million) for operating a cartel with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc for more than a year, with the aim of influencing the Swiss franc Libor benchmark, which is tied to the London interbank offered rate, Switzerland’s competition commission said in a statement Wednesday. RBS received immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel, which operated between March 2008 and July 2009.
“RBS and JPMorgan tried to distort the normal course of the pricing of interest-rate derivatives denominated in Swiss franc,” the commission wrote. “They occasionally discussed the future Swiss franc Libor rate submissions of one of the banks and at times exchanged information concerning trading positions and intended prices.”
Regulators across the globe have been probing banks’ manipulation of Libor and similar benchmarks that are used to calculate interest payments for trillions of euros of financial products including mortgages. The investigations have so far triggered about $9 billion in fines for a dozen banks in the last four years while more than 20 traders have been charged.
Libor and Euribor, the euro interbank offered rate, gauge banks’ estimated cost of borrowing over different periods of time. Earlier this month, JPMorgan, HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Agricole SA were fined a total of 485.5 million euros ($505 million) for rigging Euribor as European Union antitrust regulators wrapped up a five-year investigation into the scandal.
The Swiss commission fined three banks a total of 45.3 million francs for participating in a cartel involving the Euribor interest rate between September 2005 and March 2008. Barclays Plc was fined 29.8 million francs while RBS and Societe Generale SA will pay 12.3 million francs and 3.25 million francs respectively. Deutsche Bank AG received immunity in the Euribor probe for alerting the commission to the cartel. BNP Paribas SA, Credit Agricole SA, HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan and Rabobank Groep remain under investigation in that probe.
“We are pleased to have settled this legacy issue,” RBS spokeswoman Linda Harper said. “The culture at RBS has changed dramatically in recent years. We are determined to put these issues behind us and build a bank that is fully focused on the best interests of our customers.”
A spokesman for Societe Generale said “the matters essentially involved a single employee, who left the bank in September 2009, and neither the Swiss COMCO nor the European Commission found that this employee’s management was aware of his actions.” “Societe Generale strongly condemns this type of individual behavior and has entirely reviewed its interbank rate submission process to comply in full with the new standards set by the various bodies and authorities concerned,” the spokesman said.
An official for Deutsche Bank declined to comment. JPMorgan didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Swiss commission announced 5.4 million francs in fines against three banks for conspiring to rig the bid-ask spread on Swiss franc interest-rate derivatives between May and September 2007. Credit Suisse Group AG must pay 2.04 million francs while JPMorgan was fined 2.6 million francs and RBS 856,000 francs. UBS Group AG received immunity.
A spokesman for Credit Suisse said the bank was “pleased to have resolved this matter.”
Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and RBS were fined 14.4 million francs for collusion in the trading of yen interest rate derivatives that violated antitrust law between 2007 and 2010. The commission dropped its investigation of three Japanese banks, while HSBC, Lloyds, Rabobank and UBS remain under investigation, as well as three interdealer brokers.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Why didn't any banker go to jail???