Our Nation is at odds with the Affordable Care Act that was passed and signed into law in 2010. This legislation is the subject of several lawsuits filed by States claiming the Federal Government has violated our Constitution. While the courts decide the fate of this legislation, I bring to the table three ideas that make sense and will save the American people money.
As a Health Care Fraud Investigator for the US Department of Health and Human Services, I learned a few things that may surprise people about Medicare. If you retire and maintain your employer sponsored health insurance, when you become Medicare eligible your other insurance becomes secondary. Your insurance premiums do not change. You've paid for decades to your insurance and when you need insurance the most they pay the least. My first idea is to simply make Medicare a secondary payer for individuals who have another Health Insurance policy; Medicare will be sustainable again.
Fraud in Medicare is rampant. The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, is responsible for investigating this fraud. These investigations are often lengthy, costly, and generally yield very little. When a settlement or guilty verdict is achieved, the news is touted as a victory for overcoming this rampant fraud. My second idea is to empower our Health Care Fraud Investigators with the ability to issue citations for on the spot violations of Medicare Law. Much like a Trooper gives speeders tickets on the highway, a Health Care Fraud Investigator could hand a violator a citation for immediately identified fraud. Fines in the $10,000 to $25,000 range per violation with repayment of defrauded funds will provide a more robust Medicare program and reduction in cost of investigations and prosecutions. Violators will have an opportunity to defend themselves in a Federal Court much like a traffic court. Multiple violations by a provider will result in stiffer penalties and possibly being banned from Medicare.
My third idea is to provide a group policy that is subsidized by the Government with premiums paid by individuals who are on unemployment. Health insurance premiums are often the result of arrangements with employer defined groups. If an individual goes on unemployment then they are part of a group as well. There income comes from a fund maintained by the Government. By utilizing the buying power that comes with group policies, the individuals save money by not having to pay for a COBRA policy and are covered during a period when money is critical. By providing a choice to participate or not, we acknowledge that in our Republic the consumer has a right to choose and deal with the consequences of that choice.