Dead Federal Retirees Paid $120 Million, and Other News

Dead federal retirees paid $120 million a year.

Shock: Home health firms are maximizing reimbursements for Medicare.

Should a nurse Ph.D be called “doctor?

Comments (6)

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  1. Buster says:

    Dead federal retirees paid $120 million a year.

    We’ve always heard about the high cost of living. But apparently, the cost to taxpayers doesn’t end with the death of government workers.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    The proliferation of doctorates is largely about money and prestige. Converting masters-level medical occupations into doctorates erects a barrier to entry — thus protecting the field from competition. In addition, the social class that physicians enjoy has thoroughly turned the honorific designation “doctor” into one of status. The Wall Street Journal had an article about this a decade ago. Originally, the title “doctor” was applied almost exclusively to university professors. Long before physicians had ascended into the social strata they currently enjoy today, leaders in the field decided to adopt the title doctor because they too had earn degrees beyond the bachelors level and wanted to garner some of the status of university scholars.
    I see little reason to restrict who has earned the right to use the title to one profession. However, as the article suggests, anyone seeing a patient should not be allowed to obscure their actual profession. For that matter, an insurer (or Medicare) should not automatically pay more for a treatment by someone with a doctorate when the masters-level education could do the same job.

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    The Wall Street Journal story on home health firms was bizarre. Huge amounts of space devoted to Senate Finance Committee testimony highlighting the shocking finding that Medicare home health firms act as profit maximizers in an administered pricing regime.

    As this isn’t exactly news, one has to wonder what the underlying purpose was. Are Baucus and Grassley running for re-election? In 2009 Grassley was complaining that home health cuts would pose a “grave” threat to beneficiary access to home health care services.

  4. Carolyn Needham says:

    Absolutely absurd. If the government started rooting out all of the waste, fraud and abuse that is rampant in federal spending we would be well on our way to (a bipartisan) recovery.

  5. Virginia says:

    “Doctor” has always been such a coveted term in the United States. The industry needs to sort out the difference between a medical doctor and an academic one (in terms of labels and titles). It could clear up a lot of confusion. Just because you have a PhD, doesn’t mean you have the same training as a a physician.

  6. Seamus Muldoon says:

    “Nurses respond that they are perfectly capable of recognizing a vast majority of patient problems.”

    Yeah, well so was my grandmother. Most patient problems do not require a professional to recognize or treat.