Article Archive

Medicaid Fraud Was Exposed Last Week,
But Is Anyone Doing Anything About It?
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Friday, July 29th, 2005

The first four days of last week (July 18-21) the media provided extensive coverage of the
persistent and costly problem of Medicaid fraud and waste.  For several days lengthy articles in the New York Times and vigorous editorials in the Times, the News, Newsday and the Post denounced abuses in the 40-year-old federal program, intended to provide medical assistance to poor people.  Billions of dollars were said to have been squandered in paying unjustified claims.    Rule 29-T applies here: ("The trouble is, the charges are true.)
 
We believe that Medicaid is, in terms of dollars stolen and wasted, one of the world's largest scandals, topping even the Oil for Food program that was mismanaged by the United Nations from 1996 to 2003. 

ONE OF THREE TO LEAVE THE ROOM:
PATAKI SINGS ALBANY SWAN SONG
WITH 17 MONTHS LEFT IN HIS TERM,
HE'LL CHASE BRASS RING IN IOWA.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Thursday, July 28th, 2005
Governor Pataki's announcement yesterday that he will not seek re-election has a number of desirable aspects.  For one thing, it spares him a laborious, uphill race, presumably against State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.  He will also distinguish himself from three major New York political figures who unsuccessfully sought a fourth term: Mayor Ed Koch (1989), Governor Mario Cuomo (1994), and Senator Al D'Amato (1998).
 
His entrance into the Presidential race can help him even if he is not nominated, which appears almost certain to be the case.  First, the Presidency is the highest office in the country, and it is no disgrace not to be elected. 

Medigate, Day 4: Spitzer Writes Bruno and Silver
But Legislators Won't Interrupt Their Vacations;
Two Editorials Denounce the Continuing Fraud
Which Costs Taxpayers $12 Million Each Day.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Thursday, July 21st, 2005
GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

There is a lot to read today as we pursue Medicaid fraud for the fourth day.  It is probably too much material for some of you, who may be outraged at the scandal, but do get a lot of other e-mail at work or at home.  Our goal is for the Q list to get a daily report and the W list a weekly summary.  You are on the R, or Regular, list and would normally get an article two or three times a week.

In an effort to keep the Medicaid fraud issue in the limelight where it belongs, we have been writing longer and more frequent R's than usual. 

PATAKI MOVES ON MEDICAID FRAUD
ON SECOND DAY OF TIMES' SERIES.
BUT THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING
WILL BE FOUND IN THE EATING.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
Well, the Times gets action.  On the afternoon of the second day of its compelling series on Medicaid fraud and waste, Governor Pataki announced the creation of OMIG (Office of the Medicaid Inspector General) with new powers.  The Times' report of the Governor's action, by the diligent duo of Levy and Luo, starts on A1, col.2:

Their three-deck headline: "GOVERNOR ADDS MUSCLE TO CURB MEDICAID FRAUD-- NEW INSPECTOR GENERAL -- Albany Acts to Reorganize Oversight of the State's Largest Program."

TIMES CONTINUES ITS ATTACK ON MEDICAID FRAUD AND WASTE,
CRITICIZES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ATTORNEY GENERAL.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Tuesday, July 19th, 2005
The Times published today the second article in its blockbuster series on Medicaid fraud and waste.

In this installment, the by-lines are reversed, with Michael Luo preceding Clifford J. Levy.  The story begins on A1, above the fold, and jumps to take all of B2.  The page one, column one headline: AS MEDICAID BALLOONS, WATCHDOG FORCE SHRINKS.

The Times' lede begins a devastating indictment of a rotten system.  We can do no better here than to quote Luo and Levy directly, and we hope you have time to link to the full report.:

TIMES EXPOSÉ ALLEGES STATE MEDICAID PROGRAM
LOSES BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO FRAUD AND WASTE
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Monday, July 18th, 2005
Today the New York Times' lead story was an investigative report by Clifford J. Levy and Michael Luo.  The headline, which is all too credible, is NEW YORK MEDICAID FRAUD MAY REACH INTO BILLIONS - Program for Poor, State's Biggest Expense, Becomes Target for Egregious Abuse.
 
The lede (that's what newspaper people call the first paragraph of a story) introduces the problem by describing Medicaid, a keystone of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society:

"It was created 40 years ago to provide health care for the poorest New Yorkers, offering a lifeline to those who could not afford to have a baby or a heart attack. 

MTA DENIES ANY LASSITUDE
IN DEALING WITH SECURITY,
BUT SNAILS TRAVEL FASTER.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
YOU MAY THINK WE ARE PAYING TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO ANOTHER MTA SQUABBLE.  IT'S BORING.      BUT THE ISSUE OF PREPARATION FOR A POSSIBLE TERRORIST ATTACK MAY AFFECT THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF NEW YORKERS,  INCLUDING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

"There are two sides to every story."   That was the slogan of John J. Anthony, who had a radio program on WOR before and during World War II.  He responded to phone calls from listeners, and gave them common-sense advice.  As children we learned the line, and relied on it in family disputes.
 
Dr. Anthony's slogan resonates today as the MTA responds to the allegations published yesterday that it bungled a security contract with the US Army. 

MTA Dropped Security Plan it Worked On For Years With Army;
Hevesi Faces Challenge Over Bill to Subsidize Private Salaries.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Tuesday, July 12th, 2005
One aspect of providing links to news stories is that some stories are either directly or indirectly critical of public officials.  In fact, most news articles find fault with someone.  If everything were going well, there would be no story. Or, as they say backwards, good news is no news.
 
While we regard some officials as scoundrels and some as, say, limited--and we don't mean term-limited--most of them are reasonably intelligent and, at least, money-honest.  If you don't know what the term 'money-honest' means, we will tell you.  It indicates that the person so described does not accept bribes or demand kickbacks.  

Links to London Times and Taheri columns on the terrorist attack.
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Friday, July 8th, 2005
The sad news from London reminds us of our city's vulnerability and our own mortality.  We have seen and watched extensive accounts of the terrorist attack and its bloody consequences.

The New York City newspapers did an excellent job of covering the disaster from many aspects.  We criticize the press for particular articles, but should all acknowledge that today's stories and pictures of the tragedy met a high standard of journalism.  Thank you.

There is no point in linking to local newspapers which are readily available to you.  But there are two items from abroad which you are not likely to see on your own.  They are very well done.