The Washington Post decided to highlight the fact that a review of Illinois Medicaid documents going back to 1970 found that less than 0.01 percent of the programs spending were payments made for people who are already dead. This information was the basis of a major page 3 AP story in the Sunday paper. 

The article actually never informed readers how large the improper payments were as a share of the program's budget. Instead it told readers that $12 million in such payments had been made, $7 million of which were already recovered. If the article had been competently reported, the real story would be that Illinois' Medicaid program seems to be fairly well run in this respect. (It did include a statement from the director of the state program saying that these overpayments involved less than one tenth of one percent of their caseloads and an ever smaller share of the budget. It would have been more useful if the article directly provided this information to readers rather than leaving this as an assertion by an interested party.)

Any time large amounts of money are being spent there will be mistakes. Private companies make improper payments all the time. A real newspaper would have tried to assess the size of these mistaken payments relative to the size of the program and compared them to improper payments by other large organizations. Apparently Jeff Bezos has no interest in trying to inform the readers of his newspaper, he would rather use the news section to try to convince readers that the government is run by hopeless incompetents. 

 

Note: The fact that the piece was from AP was added after the original post.

 

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