Links for 7-2-2017

  • Kevin Williamson writes on entitlement fraud:

    Identifying small-ball efficiencies at obscure federal agencies would not do very much to get federal spending under control, but getting a grip on the shenanigans that plague the major entitlements — especially the health-care entitlements — could mean substantial savings, “substantial” here meaning hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Medicare and Medicaid together account for about $1 trillion in federal spending annually, and estimates suggest that $1 out of ever $10 of that spending is fraud. Some estimates go much higher. We do not have a very good idea of exactly how extensive fraud in the system is, because the federal government has put a fair amount of effort into not knowing. According to Malcolm Sparrow, a Harvard professor of public management who studies medical fraud, the government’s approach long has been backward: “Basically, the audits they’re using on a random sample are nothing like fraud audits,” he told The Nation. “The difference between a fraud audit and a medical review audit — a medical review audit, you’re taking all the information as if it’s true and testing whether the medical judgment seems appropriate. You can use these techniques to see where judgments are unorthodox or payment rules have not been followed, but almost nothing in these methods tests whether the information you have is true.”

  • A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Stethem, sailed within 12 miles of Triton Island, one of the disputed South China Sea islands that China claims as its own.

  • Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, says Trump is “the Earnest Hemingway of Twitter.”

  • A U.S. Postal Service employee, Noe Abdon Olvera, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for accepting a bribe from a politiquera who wanted lists of voters receiving mail-in ballots.

  • A car bomb killed 20 people in Damascus. This was one of three car bombs targeting the city — the Syrian government claims they stopped the other two.