Originally published November 16 2013
Federal govt. spending tens of millions on prescription drugs for illegals
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Americans, by and large, are compassionate and charitable, but when others begin to take advantage of that compassion, Americans understandably tend to resent it.
Which is what makes so many of our government entitlement programs increasingly hard to accept, let alone feel good about.
Tens of millions of Americans don't pay any income taxes, yet they "qualify" for subsidized lifestyles - lifestyles subsidized by other Americans who work just as hard but, by the virtue of making higher salaries, are forced by government to surrender a portion of what they earn, so government bureaucrats can dole it out to others who have done nothing to earn it
Nowhere is that more evident than in the benefits that working Americans are forced to provide, through their tax dollars, to those who are not even in the country legally.
Even a little is a lot when it takes away from Americans who paid into the system
As CNSNews reports:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spent almost $29 million to cover Medicare Part D prescription drugs for 4,139 individuals "unlawfully present" in the U.S. and thus ineligible to receive federal health care benefits, according to an audit by Daniel Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health & Human Services.
CMS "inappropriately accepted 279,056 PDE [prescription drug event] records with unallowable gross drug costs totaling $28,990,718" between 2009 and 2011, Levinson reported. Total federal expenditures under Medicare Part D during that same two-year time period came to $227 billion.
Given the size of the federal budget, this amount of money might not seem like much, but when you stop to consider that these funds were diverted from Americans who paid into the system, even a small amount of money has huge implications.
As CNSNews notes, Medicare Parts A and B cover hospitalization, doctor's visits, skilled nursing care and other medical services and supplies. The Inspector General's (IG) office, in a January report, found that CMS had also paid out some $91.6 million to healthcare providers to cover roughly 2,600 illegal aliens who were not eligible to be covered.
And this is just the amount of known discrepancies.
Worse, the payments were improperly made despite legal measures put in place specifically to prevent them. Under provisions of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Congress' "workfare," or "welfare-to-work" law), illegal aliens are prohibited from receiving any federal healthcare benefits.
The improper payments were also made despite a 2003 CMS memo which warned, "Make no payments for Medicare services furnished to an alien beneficiary who is not lawfully present in the United States."
Medicare Part D is a voluntary program that requires individuals who are entitled to benefits under Part A or enrolled in Part B to opt in by filling out a form to enroll in a federally approved prescription drug plan that has a contract with CMS. Enrollee premiums cover about a quarter of the overall cost, with Medicare picking up the rest.
Each time a Medicare Part D beneficiary fills a prescription, his or her plan sponsor is required to fill out a PDE and submit it to CMS. Medicare Part D providers receive "prospective payments...based on information in the sponsors' approved annual bids" which are later reconciled with actual prescription costs.
Okay, now you need to recoup the taxpayer's money
The news service said that CMS utilizes data from the Social Security Administration to find out if a person is eligible for Medicare benefits. However, the IG said, "CMS did not have a policy addressing payments for unlawfully present beneficiaries under Medicare Part D that was equivalent to the existing policy that covers payments for these beneficiaries under Parts A and B."
"Because CMS did not have such a policy, it did not have internal controls to identify and disenroll unlawfully present beneficiaries and to automatically reject PDE records associated with them," IG auditors continued.
In its report, the CMS IG recommended that the centers "develop and implement controls to ensure that Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs for unlawfully present beneficiaries" by preventing them from enrolling, disenrolling those already in the Medicare Part D system, and "automatically rejecting PDE records submitted by sponsors for prescription drugs provided to this population."
In addition, the auditors recommended that the centers take additional steps to recover the improperly paid funds.
Besides making payments to illegals, The Washington Times reports that CMS also made payments to dead people: www.washingtontimes.com.
Nothing like government "efficiency."
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