Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mike Cox to Propose Expanding Government With New Medicaid Inspector Position

Mike Cox is holding yet another press conference today, no details were leaked to the AP in an effort to build the suspense...

Cox is one of the candidates seeking to become the Republican nominee to run for governor in 2010. He is scheduled to detail a health care proposal in an afternoon news conference.

A media advisory from Cox's office says the plan would save the state $100 million a year but offered no other specifics.
But a West Michigan Republican has spilled the beans to the Grand Rapids Press. Oops. Or, not oops, maybe it was planned, you never can tell with these guys...

Republican Rep. Bob Genetski, of Saugatuck, is joining Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox in calling for the state to create an independent inspector to weed out Medicaid fraud and abuse.

Genetski said he will introduce legislation next week asking lawmakers to create a state Medicaid Inspector General position to monitor fraud and waste in the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Genetski plans to announce his plan Wednesday at a Lansing press conference with Cox, who is running for governor, and Senator Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, who will introduce similar legislation in the Senate. The trio claims the office will pay for itself by saving the state $100 million a year.
The 'ol "waste, fraud and abuse" canard comes up again, and gosh darn it, the "we must cut government" crowd wants to create more government to deal with it.

Not surprising, really. The AG's office already has a team in place to deal with this problem, but apparently they can't handle the work. So, while Cox is asking everyone else in the state to do more with less and cut spending, when it comes to his office and personal ambitions, well, he needs more.

The nonpartisan position would be appointed by the governor, and serve a similar independent function like the state Auditor General. Genetski said the office would function similar to Medicaid Inspector General positions that have been created in New York and Texas.

Currently a team of lawyers, investigators and experts work out of Cox's office to fight Medicaid fraud. Since its inception, the health care fraud unit has recovered more than $20 million.
Medicaid fraud is a problem. We will give him that. It needs to be addressed. But at a time when we are being asked to cut everywhere else and layoff state employees, take a look at the New York Inspector General's web site and the functions contained within. Is this an example of "less government?" They have 600 employees working on audits, who knows how many support staff on top of that, and as of 2008, they were, of course, asking for more employees and funding. This was just a cursory search on NY's office, maybe more digging will turn up some more information of the overall cost of the position.

It might be a great idea. NY claims that they have identified "recoveries of over $550 million" as of last spring. Good for them. But anytime a Republican who has made it a point to loudly and repeatedly proclaim that we need to "cut government" proposes creating a huge government office and more bureaucracy, the hypocrisy must be noted.

Why can't Mike Cox fight “waste, fraud and abuse” with the people he has now? After all, we need to “live within our means” – and I doubt that we currently have the money to implement a proposal as large as this, even if it “eventually” pays for itself.