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Old 21 February 2011, 05:40 PM
Posts: n/a
Default IBM offers to solve Health Insurance Fraud for free but Obama Refuses

I was asked to research the validity of this e-mail by a relative, so I figured I'd share what I had found out here as I didn't see this topic covered on Snopes:

Original E-mail:

You can go to the two links below for additional information confirming this article and ou can Google article this and see lots of articles written about this too.
Obama is a Marxist, believes in class division, and as aMarxist is an anti-capitalist. When people say, “I don’t understand why he does what he does”, it’s because they have not grasped the fact that he is a Marxist. If they would take the time to connect the dots, look at what he did before he was appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives (a community orgranizer), look at who he associated with for friends, mentors, etc, and will not provide any information on his background education, birth, etc…..and that he himself has been quoted that he believes America needs reforming and change…. It becomes clear that he is anti-American as well as anti-capitalist. He is about destroying the American way of life. He should be impeached and removed from office and then brought up on crimes for treason. He does not believe in following the law or Constitutional law. Clearly that is evident. What does it take to get the message out that this man and his administration and the Democrat party are dead set on destroying America?

IBM offered to help reduce Medicare fraud for free...
What if I told you that the Chairman and CEO of IBM, Samuel J. Palmisano, approached President Obama and members of his administration before the healthcare bill debates with a plan that would reduce healthcare expenditures by $900 billion? Given the Obama Administration's adamancy that the United States of America simply had to make healthcare (read: health insurance) affordable for even the most dedicated welfare recipient, one would think he would have leaned forward in his chair, cupped his ear and said, "Tell me more!"
And what if I told you that the cost to the federal government for this program was nothing, zip, nada, zilch?
And, what if I told you that, in the end and after two meetings, President Obama and his team, instead of embracing a program that was proven to save money and one that was projected to save almost one trillion dollars - a private sector program costing the taxpayers nothing, zip, nada, zilch - said, "Thanks but no thanks" and then embarked on passing one of the most despised pieces of legislation in US history?
Well, it's all true.
Samuel J. Palmisano, the Chairman of the Board and CEO for IBM, said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview that he offered to provide the Obama Administration with a program that would curb healthcare claims fraud and abuse by almost one trillion dollars but the Obama White House turned the offer down.
Mr. Palmisano is quoted as saying during a taping of The Wall Street Journal's Viewpoints program on September 14, 2010:
"We could have improved the quality and reduced the cost of the healthcare system by $900 billion...I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down."
A second meeting between Mr. Palmisano and the Obama Administration took place two weeks later, with no change in the Obama Administration's stance. A call placed to IBM on October 8, 2010, by FOX News confirmed, via a spokesperson, that Mr. Palmisano stands by his statement.
Speaking with FOX News' Stuart Varney, Mort Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report, said :
"It's a little bit puzzling because I think there is a huge amount of both fraud and inefficiency that American business is a lot more comfortable with and more effective in trying to reduce. And this is certainly true because the IBM people have studied this very carefully. And when Palmisano went to the White House and made that proposal, it was based upon a lot of work and it was not accepted. And it's really puzzling...These are very, very responsible people and don't have a political ax to grind.
In Mr. Obama's shunning of a private sector program that would have saved our country almost $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures, presented to him as he declared a "crisis in healthcare," he proves two things beyond any doubt: that he is anti-Capitalist and anti-private sector in nature and that he can no longer be trusted to tell the truth in both his political declarations or espoused goals.
For more info. check these links:

My response:

After investigating this e-mail, this is not true. It does contain certain elements that are true (which are outlined below), but the overall message of the e-mail is completely false. The newspaper article they mention does not exist, and the quote that they use from the Viewpoint article is outrageously misquoted. The first half of the quote (before the "...") is not even referring to the same topic as the second half of the quote, and in fact, there's almost a minute of the interview missing between those two halves of the quote! And as for Fox News, if you watch the video on their own news site: - the video is at the top, above the transcript - they sliced the video taking out almost a minute of the interview to make the quote say what they wanted it to. Very scary that they are slicing and dicing people's words to make them say something completely different than what was actually said and are trying to pass it off as news.

Additionally, a search of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) turned up zero articles on medicare fraud and IBM. A search of WSJ on "Palmisano" (the person who was supposedly interviewed by WSJ) also turned up zero results on the medicare fraud proposal. I did watch the Palmisano interview on Sept 14, 2010 on WSJ's Viewpoint program. You can watch the interview online here:
During the interview, Palmisano does talk about being part of an investigative group at the Whitehouse, but his proposal to save 900 Billion dollars was on the healthcare system, not medicare fraud, and part of his plan was to allow anyone to get health insurance, including "illegal aliens, dogs, cats, ponies, whatever you want" (direct quote - occurs at 9:15 in the interview) and required that the government control health care purchases (saving money through collective buying). The program was also not free, he said it would be "self-funded". He did say (at 10:14 in the interview) that there is 200 billion in fraud in the health insurance system, not in medicare, and he did say they would do it for free to prove that it works, but here's what else you should know about what he did and did not say in this interview:

- All he said about his plan is that he would prove it worked for free. He didn't say it would solve the fraud problem. In fact, he never even said it would help the fraud problem. All he said was that there was 200 billion in fraud, and that he would do it for free to show that it worked. He never said what he would do nor how much it would help. Perhaps it would only decrease it down to $150 billion in fraud but would cost $60 billion to implement (yes, there are costs to implement a "free" software solution)? We have no idea what the outcome of this plan would be.

- A fraud system for health insurance would need to affect private companies and the data of private companies. Even if IBM offered up their part of the solution for free, the big picture of the solution would not be free as the private insurance companies would need to implement the technology which means hiring staff to maintain it, hardware (computers and servers) to run it, security audits to make sure the data is safe, training for staff on how to use it, etc. None of these are inexpensive.

- This would mean that the government would be forcing private companies to use a third-party product from a specific private company on their systems and bear the costs for doing so. Do you really want the government to force your business to buy and use a specific product from another company that you may or may not want to do business with?

- The money saved from the fraud would belong to private insurance companies, not to the government, so after all is said and done, the government would be forcing private high-earning companies to earn more money, and there's no guarantee that they would pass those savings on to the consumers.

- He said they would "do it for free to prove that it works (direct quote - 10:07 in the video). This does not mean that it would always be free. He said that he would prove it would work for free. He's not saying what the long term costs would be. Yearly licensing fees for the software? Upgrade costs? Maintenance costs? Costs to develop patches and security fixes? The costs to update the software every time the insurance/policy rules change? And who would be responsible for paying for this? The government? Or does the government force the private insurance companies to now pay all the costs for IBM's solution? Which means that those costs would ultimately be paid by all of us since the insurance companies would pass those costs on down to us.

- We don't know any other details about his plan or what it would mean for our private data. What if it meant that all of our personal medical records needed to be turned over to IBM for evaluation? What if it required that our personal medical records be processed in an IBM facility in another country? Do you want your medical records stored in another country that may not follow the same privacy laws as our country? Was IBM willing to do it for free in exchange for a percentage return of the money saved by cutting down on fraud? These are the kinds of details which can make a big difference in long term costs.

- He said that there was a 3% improvement in fraud costs over last year (8% down to 5%), so perhaps there is already a solution in place that is solving the fraud issue at an equivalent or better rate.

- Additionally, my father brought up the good point that most medical records are not electronic, making a software fraud-detection system less effective. (Only 17% of doctors are using electronic medical records according to a 2008 article:

Hope this helps if anyone else is asked about this e-mail.
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