Why Is No One Running the Medicare Program?

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Dr. Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation says the president may be avoiding some difficult questions.

Health care is important to President Obama, so you’d think after nine months in office he would have appointed someone to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


That’s the federal agency that manages the Medicare program for seniors and Medicaid for the poor. Together they cover about 85 million Americans.

But maybe it isn’t so strange. The appointment needs Senate approval, allowing senators to discuss Medicare’s $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Or why Medicare fraud is an estimated $60 billion or more a year.

And those senators might ask another key question: Before Washington creates a new government-run public health insurance plan, shouldn’t it prove it can control spending and eliminate fraud in an insurance plan it’s run for 45 years?

‘These weekly SoundBytes commentaries are produced by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), a non-profit public policy think tank. We welcome your comments and feedback.’