Robbing the poor to give to the rich

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Or, as we here in the U.S. call it, Medicare:

Private insurance companies participating in Medicare have been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should have gone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly audit the companies or try to recover money paid in error, Congressional investigators say in a new report.

That sort of behavior is, by now, to be expected from Bush & Co. the administration. However, the article goes on:

In separate action, the Bush administration is vigorously pursuing money that it says is owed to insurance companies by Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare agency has sent letters to more than 135,000 people saying they still owe premiums for prescription drug coverage provided in 2006. In most cases, the premiums were supposed to have been withheld from monthly Social Security checks, but the government withheld the wrong amounts or nothing at all.

Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said, “I am intently focused on this matter and will make it a priority to correct the errors and minimize them in the future.”

And, yet, somehow, I’m not surprised. Oh, and by the way, Weems — a New Mexico native — was appointed in May to head up Medicare.

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