It is in this arena that the public treasury has been most abused by government ineptitude, institutional inertia and Congressional negligence. The waste and fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid system is scandalous and is now the target of well-organized international crime. Estimations of the extent of this waste and fraud run as high as $150 billion.
The United States Government has done nothing to effectively stop it. Excuses run the gamut from being understaffed, to the particular fraud not being within one bureaucratic purvey, or the amount of the fraud being too small, or those perpetrating it are not currently the target of a particular agency charged with preventing it. These excuses and the ongoing and increasing magnitude of the thievery are disgraceful and yet, no one is accountable, no one is responsible. The savings engendered from dealing with this atrocity would run into the hundreds of billions, yet where is the Congress? Last year a record $4 Billion of taxpayer money was recovered from $100 Billion of fraud alone, not including the waste. Wow, a whole 4 percent. I wonder what that cost the taxpayer to achieve; the price of giving medals for fifth place and inculcating the false premise that there is no such thing as a winner, perhaps?
Faith-based charities and entities should be encouraged and funded by the Government to aid in the care of the needy. They do it better, faster and cheaper than the Government can. All one needs to do to validate this claim is to remember Katrina and other devastating hurricanes and the faith-based response in Houston in accepting and caring for their newly homeless countrymen. The faith-based record of provision (think Catholic Charities Hospitals) for the needy stands in stark contrast to the out and out failure of Government one size fits all programs.
Last, charitable contributions by the wealthy should be encouraged and recognized by the public as acts of good deeds and not as acts of greed. There is no net benefit to the “rich” to attempt to heal the world other than a spiritual one. By giving large amounts to charity they themselves profit less. The inane public myth regarding charitable tax deductions for the rich is a mirror of the imbecilic attitude that promulgates it; if I do not choose to keep the money I earn, but rather to pass it onto others less fortunate, should I realistically expect to pay taxes on it? The idea that this act is somehow a form of tax dodging is dangerous and deceitful and can only be advanced by those who wish to foster the already dangerous level of class warfare that bubbles under the surfaces on which we tread as a society and as a Nation.
Mitchell Brooks is an orthopedic surgeon and the host of Health of the Nation on Talk Radio 570 KLIF in Dallas, Texas. He blogs at Health of the Nation.
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