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.
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.