Of course: Government overpays by millions for diapers

posted at 10:11 pm on January 27, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

This story struck a chord with me today. I’m always trying to explain to people that the federal government (and government in general) is so disrespectful of taxpayer money that it doesn’t even do the most basic things to make sure it’s using your money wisely. Everyone knows the most egregious things about the federal government’s spending habits. They borrow in trillions, they print in billions, they refuse to write budgets, they illustrate their commitment to one sacred kind of spending by vowing not to cut anything from any other kind of spending to pay for it. For normal people who make budgets, priorities, and tough calls in tough times, it’s insulting.

But those are all macro issues. Let’s bring it down to the details. If there’s one thing I’d wager nearly every single mother in this country does at some point, it is look for sales on diapers. Whether they’re cloth or disposable, tiny or big, you gotta buy them and you gotta buy bunches. So, you make damn sure you’re getting them for a decent price, doubling up your coupons, gift certificates, sales, and buying in bulk.

But the bulkiest of buyers feels no need to be nearly so careful with your money:

A lack of competitive bidding processes among state Medicaid agencies caused the program to overpay for diapers by about $62 million in 2012, according to a report released by federal auditors on Monday.

Only five state Medicaid agencies have implemented competitive bidding programs for “disposable incontinence supplies,” according to the inspector general for the department of Health and Human Services.

Those states reported saving up to of 50 percent on those supplies, the IG report found.

States nationwide implemented cost control mechanisms, the report noted, but Medicaid could have saved about $62 million if competitive bidding processes were adopted nationwide.

Those savings would amount to 23 percent of the Medicaid bill for disposable incontinence supplies, which include nine categories of diapers and liners, including products for adults and children.

It’s like going to Bed Bath & Beyond without your 20 percent off coupon, every day, for a gazillion years. It’s stupid, wasteful, and eminently preventable.

Ben Domenech, of Transom and Coffee & Markets (which if you’re not reading or listening to, you should) lauds a legislative fix for some of this:

“One of the reasons Medicaid is spending so much on adult diapers in the first place is that the Medicaid program has morphed into an uncomfortable combination of two programs,” Domenech explained in an email.

In addition to its role as an insurer for low-income Americans, he said, Medicaid has become “a long-term care program which provides chronic care and nursing home services for seniors.”

Domenech lauded a proposal introduced on Monday by Sens. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), and Richard Burr (R., N.C.) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with, the senators say, a more “sustainable, affordable, patient-centered” system.

In the meantime, clip those coupons, moms, while these idiots fritter away the money they’ve already stolen from your grandchildren.


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Government overpays by millions for diapers

Depends….

Electrongod on January 27, 2014 at 10:19 PM

McCain and Reid perk?

WryTrvllr on January 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Of course: Government overpays by millions for diapers

“overpays”=code for money being stolen and essentially laundered through the procurement portion of the bureaucracy.

I think this was spelled out rather neatly in Independence Day.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Doody and Waste

I see what you did there.

Fenris on January 27, 2014 at 10:21 PM

speed of light

WryTrvllr on January 27, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Loved you on The Factor tonight, MKH. Talking Points McGee.

John the Libertarian on January 27, 2014 at 10:24 PM

Yes let’s repeal Ocare and replace it with the same kind of program were re told Obamacare was going to be:
“sustainable, affordable, patient-centered” system.

I didn’t buy it from Obama and the Dems, I don’t buy it from our side, either.

catmman on January 27, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Only five state Medicaid agencies have implemented competitive bidding programs for “disposable incontinence supplies,” according to the inspector general for the department of Health and Human Services.

.
Writing tip, MKH – Don’t bury your lead!

If only five states have competitive bidding, what do the other 45 have?

Graft, corruption, and kickbacks.

If you want to change the status quo:

Government corruption or incompetence? Let’s go with BOTH!

Of course, you don’t want to challenge the SYSTEM … because anyone who does is no longer invited on TV for guest panels, are they?

PolAgnostic on January 27, 2014 at 10:28 PM

of course if you are a Keynesian or run of the mill dim politician, spending money is Good.

digging holes and filling them up is fine. And the dim but crooked pol will say wth…as long as it doesn’t collapse in my lifetime. My kids?

(p.s. McCaskill’s money comes from nursing homes and affordable housing…sweet deal if you can get it)

r keller on January 27, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Would you Depend on Government to wipe your a$$?

What has come of people?

Electrongod on January 27, 2014 at 10:30 PM

We only bought disposable diapers when we were on trips or the babies had diaper rash. The rest of the time we used cloth, a diaper pail and laundry. And we never got welfare or food stamps.

When the government goes broke and we’re in another Depression, the government won’t buy you diapers or birth control. You’ll be lucky to have a volunteer midwife.

flataffect on January 27, 2014 at 10:36 PM

SHIT!

KOOLAID2 on January 27, 2014 at 11:02 PM

They overpay for everything;

Just one little example
My mother, the last six years of her life was on oxygen.

Medicare paid for the rent on her oxygen concentrator. and what they paid for two months would purchase outright a used one. In five to six months the rent they paid on it would buy a new one.

After about four years I got sick of the taxpayers being ripped off, and bought a new one for her. Thank me for saving you taxpayers about $6,000.

LegendHasIt on January 28, 2014 at 1:10 AM

Multiply this by 10,000 or so and you begin to see the problem.

From 1991-2000, an audit of the Department of Education revealed over $100 billion unaccounted for. Auditors could not determine if it were stolen or wasted, there was simply no record at all of the money being spent. But it was gone, they were able to be sure of that much.

The Grace Commission Report in 1984 found over $100 billion a year in pure waste and inefficiency in the federal government. They claimed their analysis ignored policy choices altogether, they targeted only pure waste and inefficiency without regard to political considerations. These included commissions which had been authorized for specific purposes and fulfilled their missions, yet their staffs and officers continued to be paid. Their offices continued to be rented, and their furniture and decorations replaced periodically like other federal agencies. But they did nothing at all.

The only way to attack this waste is through the budget system. Base-line budgeting ratifies past waste and perpetuates it into the future. We need “zero-base” budgeting where every agency must justify every dollar every budget cycle.

With the baseline approach, every program turns into an entitlement without respect to effectiveness or purpose.

Adjoran on January 28, 2014 at 1:31 AM

With the baseline approach, every program turns into an entitlement without respect to effectiveness or purpose.

Adjoran on January 28, 2014 at 1:31 AM

My idea of baseline is each year is a reset to zero. Now tell me how much you need and why you need that much.

As far as new furniture goes, call GSA and ask ‘em what they have in storage. Go pick something you’ve never seen before and it’s new to you.

platypus on January 28, 2014 at 2:07 AM

Duty and waste

Is that new-mom humor?

Dan_Yul on January 28, 2014 at 2:45 AM

Medicaid sets the reimbursement for diapers and expects a supplier to delivery them to the person’s door in the middle of no where. States generally cover them for the severely disabled only…they are considered a medical necessity. In the state I live in, many sizes and types of incontinence products aren’t available though Medicaid because the reimbursement is less than the cost of the product.

bopbottle on January 28, 2014 at 3:28 AM

How appropriate since the govt makes us feel like soiled diapers anyway

gsherin on January 28, 2014 at 5:38 AM

Why should they care? …it’s not their money.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 28, 2014 at 7:15 AM

Bopbottle- that’s been our experience too so I don’t know how government is overpaying.
Also, while diapers are a necessity for the disabled and elderly I don’t see anywhere in my copy of the Constitution that the feds should be responsible for providing them.

hopeful on January 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Let’s be honest; millions of voters will need those diapers if Hillary gets elected.

Don L on January 28, 2014 at 10:04 AM

I don’t see anywhere in my copy of the Constitution that the feds should be responsible for providing them.

hopeful on January 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Silly, it’s right next to those emanations from penumbras that created Roe vs. Wade and Robert’s Obamacare tax. Don’t you know your living constitution yet?

Don L on January 28, 2014 at 10:06 AM

That’s it. Time for Harry Reid to start buying his own Depends!

kmid219 on January 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM