Remember back at the beginning of September when President Obama promised to pay for his health care overhaul by rooting out waste and fraud in Medicaire? Well, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has a plan which would provide one safeguard against fraud in federal healthcare programs. And, well, Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee unanimously rejected it:
Senate Finance Committee Democrats rejected a proposed requirement that immigrants prove their identity with photo identification when signing up for federal healthcare programs.
Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that current law and the healthcare bill under consideration are too lax and leave the door open to illegal immigrants defrauding the government using false or stolen identities to obtain benefits.
Seems Senate Democrats are doing their part to confirm Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as the “truth czar” of the healthcare debate. Not just that, it shows that Democrats aren’t really serious about following up on the President’s pledge in his health care speech to eliminate “hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud” from Medicare. At the time, Charles Krauthammer found that pledge more than just dishonest:
That’s not a lie. That’s not even deception. That’s just an insult to our intelligence. Waste, fraud and abuse — Meg Greenfield once called this phrase “the dread big three” — as the all-purpose piggy bank for budget savings has been a joke since Jimmy Carter first used it in 1977.
Moreover, if half a trillion is waiting to be squeezed painlessly out of Medicare, why wait for health-care reform? If, as Obama repeatedly insists, Medicare overspending is breaking the budget, why hasn’t he gotten started on the painless billions in “waste and fraud” savings?
Senator Grassley gave Democrats an opportunity to show their commitment to preventing fraud and to put their votes where the President’s mouth was. And they balked. They’d rather please the interest groups who back their party than follow through on their own party’s rhetoric and act to safeguard that ever dwindling supply of taxpayer dollars.