Obama’s Debt Plan Affects Medicare, Medicaid

President Barack Obama is expected to release a debt plan on Monday that will involve making cuts to Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade. His administration says the cuts will not impact beneficiaries negatively, but will reduce overspending.

Obama’s Debt Plan Proposals for Medicare and Medicaid

On Monday, Obama plans to unveil a national debt reduction plan in the wake of the debt limit breach earlier this year and near-default in August. To reduce the debt over the next decade–in addition to raising some taxes–he plans to make some adjustments in spending to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The president is expected to propose cuts of $248 billion to the Medicare program with an addition $72 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program and other health insurance programs. About 90 percent of savings coming from Medicare, however, are expected to be from reducing over-payments in the system.

The administration has been adamant that the president’s debt plan will not include any adjustments to Medicare beneficiary age requirements. Also, if any changes occur to the Medicare benefits, they won’t happen until 2017.

Proposal Could Push for Greater Reduction in Medicare Fraud

Medicare fraud has become a major problem over the past several years as there has been an increase in the number of scam artists looking to make a quick buck from the system.

For instance, 91 individuals were recently arrested in a Medicare sting that would have taken $295 million from the system if the scammers had been successful. Earlier this year, 114 people were charged for over $240 million in fraud. Some of the accused scam artists in this sting included a podiatrist and proctologist.

Officials say fraud is on the rise, partially because medical professionals have been frustrated by low reimbursement rates and delayed payments. Others are just taking advantage of an easy-to-scam system that only reviews less than five percent of claims that enter databases.

In response to the rise in fraud, law enforcement has been working harder to prosecute criminals. The government recently organized Strike Force teams led by federal prosecutors to catch fraud before it is successful.

The teams have already found success and expect to reduce the amount of overspending significantly over the next several years.