Friday, December 13, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
A man walks in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi, in Malawi, Egypt, on Aug. 17 after it was looted and burned by a mob.
2013 File Photo/The Associated Press
Sen. Collins at forefront of Medicare fraud prevention
On behalf of AARP's 230,000 members in Maine, I am writing to thank Sen. Susan Collins for signing on as a co-sponsor to the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures Act.
Medicare fraud and abuse are undermining the health of seniors and costing taxpayers an estimated $60 billion to $90 billion every year. The PRIME Act would combat fraud by cracking down on identity theft, improving systems for tracking fraudulent billing and punishing billing errors and overpayments.
Last year, the Medicare fee-for-service program made almost $30 billion in improper payments, an 8.5 percent error rate. For decades, Medicare has operated under a system that pays providers first and investigates suspicious claims later.
The PRIME Act would require that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services more closely track the overpayments and implement solutions to address them such as closing loopholes, stopping patterns of double billing and other steps.
Sen. Collins should be commended for signing on to this important, timely legislation.
AARP Maine state director
Panhandlers could now put effort into securing work
Panhandling in Maine has seemingly been on a steady rise, specifically in urban areas. The recent rules passed in Portland have provided satisfaction to those against the idea of individuals standing in a median to collect money.
Because of the possibility of danger and constant uncomfortable atmosphere given off by the panhandlers, the law rightfully restricts this disruptive behavior.
Standing so close to roads, usually with high-volume traffic, and sometimes in the middle of said roads, is extremely hazardous. Both parties, the panhandler and vehicle operators, are at a high risk of an accident.
The practice also makes others feel uncomfortable and unsafe. If an individual is willing to spend many hours a day hoping to collect free money, they should devote the same amount of time, if not more, seeking employment.
It seems that more and more people panhandle just to make some extra tax-free cash and are not really destitute and/or homeless. This is enraging for people who work hard for their income-taxed paychecks.
The new city ban on panhandling in medians will hopefully be the first of a few initiatives to get the individuals off the streets and looking for work.