July 20, 2011 12:37PM

Medicare/​Medicaid Fraud Shows Why the Ryan Roadmap Belongs in Debt‐​Limit Negotiations

Cato’s crack filmmakers have just released this video based on my National Review article, “Entitlement Bandits — How the Ryan Plan Would Curb Medicare and Medicaid Fraud.”

The message is simple. Medicare and Medicaid don’t just tolerate massive amounts of fraud. They protect it. Members of Congress care so little about fraud that they can’t be bothered to measure the problem properly and even block effective anti‐​fraud efforts. It’s not because they are evil. They are simply following the incentives the political system creates. The result is that the rate of fraud in these programs is hundreds of times larger than in credit cards, for example.

Short of repeal, nothing is going to alter those incentives in a way that would bring such fraud down to the levels tolerated in the private sector. Nevertheless, Paul Ryan’s budget proposal offers the best hope of reducing fraud in these programs from its current level of $100 billion or more. Which is why the Ryan plan belongs on the table during the current debt‐​limit negotiations.