Monday, August 28, 2006

creative (enron) acounting medicare

aus der wochenendausgabe von barrons. schon dreist wie hier teilweise auf plumpe art versucht wird das defizit optisch aufzuhübschen. besonders gefällt mir der hinweis das ceo´s für solche vergehen lt. sarbanes-oxley dafür hinter gittern kommen würden.

dank geht an barry ritholtz http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

dazu auch/more on enronacounting in the
us http://immobilienblasen.blogspot.com/2006/08/traue-keiner-statistik-die-du.html

...... Let's get to the heart of the matter. Our advice is simple: Don't get sick in the last nine of the days of Uncle Sam's fiscal year; and if you're already sick, for gosh sakes, don't get sicker. Especially if you happen to be a geezer, or have the bad luck to be disabled.
This exhortation is not based on any new medical research or even quack notion, and it has absolutely nothing to do with any seasonal blips in the incidence of disease. Instead -- and here's the beauty of it -- it springs from cold, hard logic, derived from last week's disclosure of some smarmy accounting sleight of hand that the Bush administration plans to indulge in so as to make Medicare's deficit look better this waning fiscal year. Just the kind of manipulation, incidentally, that under Sarbanes-Oxley can land a slippery CEO or chief financial officer in the pokey.

The bureaucratic brainstorm was straightforward -- simple-minded is, perhaps, a more appropriate description -- don't pay doctors, hospitals and their army of auxiliaries tending to indisposed old folks and the afflicted disabled for their labors in the last nine days of the current fiscal year. Instead, send them a check for what you owe them, sometime after the first of October, the start of the government's fiscal '07. In essence, those doctors, hospitals et al. are making an involuntary loan of nine days' pay without interest.

That way, point out the gleeful budgeteers and Medicare pooh-bahs, all of whom presumably are glowing with health, Uncle Sam's Medicare tab this fading fiscal year will be $5.2 billion less than it otherwise would have been. Or at least would seem to be $5.2 billion less -- in Washington, as we all know, appearance and reality are not invariably the same phenomena.
Of course, this oh-so-clever stratagem would mean that next fiscal year's Medicare bill will be $5.2 billion more than it would have been. But, not to worry, those indefatigable financial watchdogs in the Office of Management and Budget and their henchmen in the uppermost reaches of Medicare are on the case. And we have every confidence that next year they'll make up for any untoward increases in costs by ceasing to send checks to doctors, hospitals et al. in August or even July, if necessary.


It's never too early for the prudent sickie to begin to prepare for the worst and do everything in his or her power not to allow his or her condition to grow worse toward the end of the fiscal year. Get used to waiting until the start of the new fiscal year before letting it all hang out.
For it ineluctably follows that the doctors and their cohorts might feel some inhibiting hesitation about putting in an often onerous day's work for the promise of payment later. In the circumstances, who can blame them if they decide en masse to shut down their offices for the summer? And wasn't it the president, himself, after all, on an earlier occasion, who pointed out that government IOUs are just pieces of paper?..........


jan-martin


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