Saturday, June 9, 2012

Government Innovation Grants
Don’t take anything for granted.
June 8, 2012 -  I see  by the Wall Street Journal  that a fellow physician agrees with me (Steven Greer, M.D. “Inside Obamacare’s Grant Making,” June 5, 2012). 

Doctor Greer, surgeon, financial analyst and CEO of the Healthcare Channel ( says the grant-making Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMII) is a sham,  a pork program and a vehicle for political cronyism.
CMII will spend $10 billion on awards, grants, and contracts .  CMII seeks ways and means for replacing the current fee-for-service system for alternative approaches to delivering more cost-effective, better care.
CMII selected Dr. Greer to help  screen the first 3000 grant applicants. Because of his dismay at the short time allotted to review applications, Dr. Greer complained to Kathleen Sibelius of HHS and Donald Berwick, former administrator of CMS, that the process of selecting grant winners was deeply flawed.  Greer  soon left CMII.
Subsequently, CMII announced the first 26 grant recipients.
These included:
·         George Washington University was granted $1.9 million to save $1.7 million.

·         The Center of Health Care Services in San Antonio received $4.6 million to $5 million.
·         The University of Chicago, for whom Michelle Obama previously served as a VP, got $5.8 million for train and create new jobs for 90 individuals in a diverse high poverty community.
Dr. Greer notes these grants did not save much money and were awarded  to the politically connected. 

Greer concludes,”Congress ought to dismantle and defund the program if CMII survives the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.”
I would take criticism of CMII a step further.  I would observe, as I did in my book The Health Reform Maze (Greenbranch Publishing, 2011) that innovation is beyond the government’s core competency for structural and political reasons.
Government, as I noted in my book:
·         cannot manage failure

·         seldom abandons a failed project

·         is not gambling with its own money

·         measures success in good intentions, not results

·         grows too big to fail and too influential to stop

·         can’t go out of business because it can print its own money and is propped up by taxpayer money.
Tweet:  The Center of Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMII) will fail.  Government is incapable of innovationing,  politically and structurally.

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