Thursday, June 12, 2008

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse -- For the Children

"For the children" is the mantra universally invoked to justify most expansions of government welfare programs. But for some reasons, the supporters of these programs don't talk as much about the associated waste, fraud, and abuse. Here's just one example from Colorado, as reported in the June 9, 2008 Rocky Mountain News:
Health program for kids assailed

...A report on the Children's Basic Health Plan found that 10 percent of patients were classified incorrectly - either as eligible when they weren't or as ineligible when they were entitled to services.

Hundreds of people were kept on the program after their eligibility expired - for up to two years in some cases.

...The report stunned lawmakers. "That's huge," House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said of the 10 percent error rate in qualifying participants.

If the wrong people are being enrolled, "then the whole program doesn't work," said May, who was appointed as a temporary member of the audit committee.

...The Children's Basic Health Plan is the Colorado agency that carries out the federal program called State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.

...The auditors found 831 women who remained in the program after their eligibility should have expired. The cost associated with them is $104,000, the auditors said.
This sort of abuse is not the primary reason that state-mandated welfare is wrong and that the free market plus private charity is the only morally proper solution for the issue of children who need health care but whose parents can't afford it.

But it is another example of the problems that we've seen repeatedly in any implementation of the welfare state. It's another reason to oppose a massive expansion at the national level in the SCHIP program.