Besides being illegal, they're also expensive:
According to a 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office, Medicare makes an estimated $48 billion in "improper payments" each year, an estimate that's almost certainly lower than the actual amount since it doesn't include bad payments within the prescription drug program.
Fred E. Dweck was a surgeon and director of a healthcare business in Miami who swindled Medicare out of $24 million. How the fraud worked:
Dweck's gimmick, like the payment system he was manipulating, was simple: He gave the go-ahead to official orders for prescription drugs, staff-assisted insulin injections, in-home visits by nurses, and an assortment of other treatments for an estimated 1,279 different patients, none of whom actually needed treatment. With the help of five nurses who faked bundles of official patient records and payment forms, Dweck raked in cash on the taxpayer tab.
[T]he map underscores one big hurdle for any coordinated world effort on climate change. The countries likely to get smacked the hardest aren't, by and large, the countries currently pumping out the most greenhouse gases. One big exception is China, which scores dismally on GAI's "readiness" index. That may explain why leaders in Beijing are taking increasingly ambitious steps to rein in carbon pollution. (Whether they'll actually succeed is a different question, but a sense of urgency does seem to have taken hold there.)
See? Christie's against bullying and this is a problem. (ThinkProgress)
The Republicans went through all of that trouble holding disaster relief funds hostage, making themselves look like assholes in the process, and now they have nothing to show for it thanks to Harry Reid's persistence.
Roger Ailes spilled some news about his ridiculous network:
He made a big admission to Newsweek, saying that he has made a "course correction" at Fox News, veering it away from the hard-right line it took in the earlier days of the Obama administration. [...]
He also spoke openly about many of his anchors, saying that Bill O'Reilly "hates" Sean Hannity because he's jealous of his radio success (and thus confirming years of rumors about the animosity between the two).
Ailes also called Hannity "predictable" and said that he sometimes has to have a word with Shepard Smith when Smith says things that may not go over well with the Fox News crowd.
Obviously he still plans for the network to remain conservative, just not as wingnutty. But the ideology of the network was never really the issue. Fox News Channel's biggest flaw is that it's so divorced from reality. They fabricate the news and attack anyone — civilians, high school administrators, noncombatants — with whom the hosts have a beef. If it was a conservative network, fine, be conservative. But stop lying about the news.####
Researchers at Argonne National Labs have developed a $10-30 set of parts that can be inserted into a Diebold voting machine and used to alter votes. The machine can be opened by using a standard hotel minibar key, or a similar, easily copied key, and the parts can be inserted in a matter of seconds. Once the parts are inserted, votes can be altered by remote control from a distance of up to 1/2 mile (or I assume the device could be set to do a pre-programmed vote modification).
Paper or absentee ballots, people!
AP: Health officials say as many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade. The CDC said Tuesday that they have confirmed two deaths in Texas and one death each in in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Last week the CDC reported two deaths in Colorado, four deaths in New Mexico, one in Oklahoma and one in Maryland.
Details of the secret investigation are sketchy, but it is clear the Milwaukee County district attorney's office is investigating charges that Wisconsin Right to Life offered rewards for volunteers who signed up sympathetic voters in the recall races. Several people familiar with the investigation said subpoenas were being distributed "like candy."
Teabagger Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is single-handedly blocking new safety regulations for oil and gas pipelines out of principle, despite the fact that the industry supports the new rules and "even after a gas pipeline rupture last week shook people awake in three counties in his home state of Kentucky."
Premiums for employee-sponsored health insurance continue to skyrocket even as more workers receive less generous coverage, according surveys released today. Half of all workers at small firms with individual policies had premiums of more than $1,000 — up from 16 percent of workers in 2006 — as employers face rising health costs by requiring workers to pay more out of pocket. TP Health's Igor Volsky explains why.
Yes, well try not getting employee sponsored insurance and paying for all of it on your own while not in a group.
Perry makes up convenient story of teabagger persecution
Rick Perry put on his best mom shirt and sweat all over the stage as he performed in a severe, drooling twang the Tea Party's most cherished political tradition, the factually false re-telling of historical events. Here he is making up things about the original Boston Tea Party, telling everybody that "there was a time in this country when people were afraid to go out in public. You go back to Boston in the 1770s and people had to disguise themselves," which is not, of course, actually the case. Our money's on "Rick Perry conveniently confused Tea Party mythology with the popular narrative of persecution suffered by early Christians for political gain," but that's as much as we're going to think about it. What does someone else have to say? READ MORE »