Friday, July 22, 2005

Responses to "Day 4: Spitzer Enters the Fray"

Here are the reader responses to my July 21 article on Eliot Spitzer's letter to Bruno and Silver on new legislation to fight Medicaid fraud. Also covered are editorials from Newsday and the Daily News denouncing the continuing fraud which costs taxpayers $12 million each day. Thanks to all who commented.


  1. Great job Henry !!!!

    We are very appreciative, please keep the pressure on the Medicaid Mobsters.

  2. Spitzer is definitely presidential material. Not perfect, who is, but a good guy. Spitzer, the McCain of the Democratic Party?

  3. Henry; Keep up the heat. But the long run problem is that the incentive to steal is not offset by (a) the inhibition to steal from identifiable individuals in combination with (b) the incentive of the target to prevent his or her pocket from being picked. The combination of (a) and (b) works fairly well in a society where there is a widely accepted morality. But I fear the notion abounds that stealing from the government "hurts no one" particularly and is equivalent to underpaying one's taxes

  4. Anonymous12:48 PM

    With all due respect, the guy caught with his pants down is Spitzer, not Pataki. Spitzer is the state's chief law enforcement officer, not Pataki. Spitzer's "bills" are a smokescreen, and most of the press is falling for it. You've got it right in the last section of your message, but you should have it up front.

  5. Starquest,
    Your last point deserves extra attention. I think the news services should give Spitzer a major kick in the ass for being more concerned with the millions of losses putatively incurred by globally dispersed shareholders instead of the billions incurred directly by the taxpayers he
    supposedly works for. Last I checked, fraud is already illegal in New York. Why is his first instinct to ask for more money and power? As the knee-jerk reaction of an ambitious statist? As an excuse for not doing something earlier? He should have gotten off his government-financed butt
    far earlier than June 10. They (the adoring media) should not let him off the hook on this.

  6. Henry, you deserve a medal! But keep looking over your shoulder, and be careful. Your final question is right on the money, and would that every breathing person could read it. Someone should do a psychological study on a populace that just sits back and sighs at their hard-earned money flying into the greed machines!
    Thanks for the great articles.

  7. Horray for your column. Now let some clean up happen!

  8. Thank you for sending me your emails. Your thoughts on the Medicaid crisis are very valid. I think that you should support the Commission of Stephen Berger that has been formed by Gov. Pataki. This is the best place to focus your efforts so that one single group can address the entire Hospital cost overruns and the entire question of our budgetary problems. You are making a good start.

  9. Thank you for your excellent reports on Medigate. Is it possible to have access to the database which the Times mined for
    such scam artists as Dr. Dolly?
    Wouldn't it be easy to compare the doctors and professional corporations putting in for huge medicaid reimbursements with lobbyists' clients?

  10. Anonymous9:18 AM

    The AG doesn't need new legislation; the last time I look larceny and filing false statements were crimes in New York and, if he found NY law inadequate, I think medicaid is parly funded by the Federal government which no doubt has more Draconian penalties..

  11. Nothing can or will be done for the simplest of reasons. These programs are created and administered without the imperative of an inherent mechanism and the required staff and funds to police them. While the legislators who created these programs cannot specifically be accused of perpetrating Fraud it is the inevitable Effect since just as well they see no value for themselves in abuses being too readily identified and then reflecting negatively on them.

    Politicians as a group are more than willing to accept the possibilities make that inevitability of abuses no matter how horrendous because it is proven again and again that they will never be individually held responsible and none of them will have their own positions jeopardized no matter how much The Times or others expose these programs.

    And that's the Good News.

    From a Cynic or Realist's perspective ( interchangeable here ) many of our elected officials benefit mightily from their contributors and constituents benefiting richly from these programs. And since they will never be culpable many who lack Integrity ( read most of them ) are quite happy if invisibly so that these programs lack necessary oversight or enforcement to prevent abuse.

    It would be so so easy to drastically cut down on fraud for starters by attaching very very stiff minimum mandatory jail sentences for doctors and businesses owners caught abusing it and making illegal profits. The certainty of Punishment is a compelling means to honesty. The reason the Dr. Rosen pictured in The Times story appears to have a smile or smirk on her face is her knowledge that even if convicted the rewards she has received will far exceed any penalties she will be made to endure.

  12. Beaverkill9:23 AM

    What are the penalties for defrauding the Medicaid program ?

    With inadequate oversight, maybe we need bounty hunters / insiders like nurses, assistants, etc. who are rewarded a % of recovered charges. It sounds like drastic measures are needed, for deterrence as well as punishment.