• Dentistry,  Medicaid,  Texas

    Texas and the Feds Take Action on Orthodontic Medicaid Fraud

    Texas Dental Medicaid Office

    About damn time.

    A Dallas dentist has agreed to pay the state and federal government $1.2 million to resolve allegations that he submitted false orthodontic claims under Medicaid.

    Dr. Richard Malouf, former majority owner of All Smiles Dental Center, allegedly submitted false Medicaid claims between 2004 and 2007.

    News 8 reported on Malouf’s lavish homes and two multimillion dollar corporate jets. Malouf did not admit any wrongdoing or liability in his settlement.

    He is one of several orthodontists highlighted for multimillion dollar billings under Medicaid.

    Eleven dental operations statewide have had their state funds suspended for credible allegations of fraud in billing the Texas Medicaid Orthodontics program. This follows a 10-month News 8 investigation of medicaid orthodontics in Texas, which found the state spends more on braces for poor children than the rest of the nation combined.

    Watch the video embedded below for more on the story.

    Of course, there will be some money paid back to the State of Texas and the federal government. Some bureaucrats will be scolded or fired. Maybe a dentist or two will have their dental license suspended for a while.

    But, the total lack of oversight in this program is an example of what happens when government involves itself too much into health care. There is vast unaccountable waste, abuse and fraud.

    On the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, one has to wonder what will happen in the future with the public purse should the United States Supreme Court rule the law is constitutional

  • California,  Texas

    Why Are Californians Fleeing to Texas?

    Conn, I think you just might have the answer: JOBS.

    But then how do we explain California? From the time of the Gold Rush through 2000, the number of California residents not born in California grew every census. But, for some reason, that stopped in the 2000s. The number of Californians born in a different state actually fell by almost 1 million over the last decade. Why?

    Thanks to native births and immigration, California’s population did grow. But Texas’ native birth rate and immigration flows were about the same. Yet over the same decade the number of Texans born out-of-state grew by almost a million. Why?

    Matt is despereate to have you believe that Americans suddenly stopped wanting to live in California and started wanting to live in Texas. But why did this happen? Couldn’t have anyhting to do with the fact they were offered jobs in Texas could it?

  • California,  California Economy,  Flap's California Morning Collection,  Freedom of Speech,  Los Angeles Dodgers,  Texas

    Flap’s California Morning Collection: June 27, 2011

    A morning collection of links and comments about my home, California.

    Tabulations From a Survey of California Registered Voters about their Attentiveness to Government and Politics and the Media Sources They Use to Obtain This Information

    A new Field Poll says there’s an uptick in the number of those who aren’t following government and political news.

    The poll, out today, says about 25 percent of California voters say they pay attention to such news “only now and then” or “hardly at all.”

    That’s up from 16 percent who said so in 1979 and 20 percent in 1999.

    What do voters list as a main source of public affairs news? A majority, 56 percent, said television, while 44 percent said the Internet and 33 percent read newspapers.

    And where are they getting that television news? Twenty eight percent said CNN, 22 percent said Fox, and 8 percent said Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

    Dan Walters: California vs. Texas provides very stark job comparison

    On June 17, the California Employment Development Department reported a tiny decline – just two-tenths of 1 percent – in the state’s unemployment rate to 11.7 percent in May.

    It was, to put it mildly, underwhelming, since a deeper look at the data reveals that the decline was not because payrolls had expanded markedly, but rather because the state’s labor force had shrunk as jobless workers gave up looking for work.

    California’s “seasonally adjusted” non-agricultural employment had increased by a minuscule 2,000 in the preceding year while the “unadjusted data” showed a decline of 40,000 employed people from a year earlier.

    The Texas Workforce Commission released a similar report on June 17 – similar in form, but decidedly dissimilar in tone.

    Texas’ unemployment rate was 8 percent, two-thirds of California’s jobless rate, and its seasonally adjusted year-to-year job growth was a robust 2 percent (2.7 percent in private employment).

    “We’ve added 92,300 jobs in Texas so far in 2011,” said TWC Commissioner Ronny Congleton. “That is a trend that we hope to continue until all Texans have good jobs earning good wages.”

    Texas had fewer than a million unemployed workers in May while California had more than 2 million. Texas’ jobless rate was under the national average, while California’s was the second highest in the nation. Texas has accounted for nearly half of the nation’s job creation since 2009.

    “Growth in the Texas economy is gaining steam,” says a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Clearly, Texas and other states are emerging from recession while California’s recovery, if it exists, is decidedly weak, as several new economic reports note.

    Court overturns ban on video game sales to kids

    The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional to bar children from buying or renting violent video games, saying government doesn’t have the authority to “restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed” despite complaints that the popular and fast-changing technology allows the young to simulate acts of brutality.

    On a 7-2 vote, the high court upheld a federal appeals court decision to throw out California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento had ruled that the law violated minors’ rights under the First Amendment, and the high court agreed.

    “No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm,” said Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion. “But that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”

    Video game makers and sellers celebrated their victory, saying the decision puts them on the same legal footing as other forms of entertainment. “There now can be no argument whether video games are entitled to the same protection as books, movies, music, and other expressive entertainment,” said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

    Dodgers file for bankruptcy protection

    The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court Monday, blaming Major League Baseball for refusing to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal that owner Frank McCourt was counting on to keep the troubled team afloat.

    The Chapter 11 financing permits the Dodgers to use $150 million for daily operations and buys time for the team to seek a media deal and ensure the team’s long-term financial stability, the Dodgers said in a news release.

    “There will be no disruption to the Dodgers’ day-to-day business, the baseball team, or to the Dodger fans,” the statement said.

    Dodgers players will be paid on Thursday, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian.

    Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced last week that he wouldn’t approve a Dodgers television deal with Fox Sports that reportedly was worth up to $3 billion. That left McCourt cash-starved and facing the prospect of missing the team payroll this Thursday, leading to an MLB takeover.

    McCourt defended his running of the team, saying he had made it profitable and successful. He also said the Dodgers have tried for almost a year to get Selig to approve the Fox transaction.

    “The Dodgers have delivered time and again since I became owner, and that’s been good for baseball,” McCourt said. “We turned the team around financially after years of annual losses before I purchased the team. We invested $150 million in the stadium. We’ve had excellent on-field performance, including playoff appearances four times in seven years.

    “And we brought the Commissioner a media rights deal that would have solved the cash flow challenge I presented to him a year ago, when his leadership team called us a ‘model franchise.’ Yet he’s turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today. I simply cannot allow the Commissioner to knowingly and intentionally be in a position to expose the Dodgers to financial risk any longer. It is my hope that the Chapter 11 process will create a fair and constructive environment to get done what we couldn’t achieve with the Commissioner directly.”

    Enjoy your morning!

  • Government Spending,  Polling,  Texas

    Poll Watch: Americans Blame Wasteful Government Spending for Deficit – Favor Spending Cuts

    According to the latest Gallup Poll.

    The large majority of Americans say spending too much money on unneeded or wasteful federal programs is to blame for the federal budget deficit, while 22% say the deficit is a consequence of not raising enough in taxes to pay for needed programs.

    These results are based on an April 20-23 USA Today/Gallup poll. Given a forced choice, Republicans almost uniformly place blame for the deficit on too much federal spending, rather than a shortage of tax revenue. Majorities of independents and Democrats agree, albeit by somewhat smaller margins.

    And, Americans generally favor government spending cuts versus increasing taxes as a way to reduce budget deficits.

    Here is the poll chart.

    This is not surprising and why the Tea Party has been so successful in framing the economic issues, particularly during the 2010 elections. Americans WANT government spending cuts and prefer that to taxes.

    End of story.

    This question asks Americans to choose among five ways of reducing the federal deficit, ranging from a total reliance on spending cuts to a total reliance on tax increases. The responses cluster at the “spending cuts” end of the spectrum. About half (48%) of Americans say reducing the deficit should be done mostly or only with spending cuts. Another 37% say it should be done equally with spending cuts and tax increases. Eleven percent say mostly or only with tax increases.

    Thus, overall, 85% of Americans explicitly favor spending cuts as at least part of the solution to reducing the federal deficit, with more than half of these favoring only or mostly using cuts. This compares with 48% who explicitly favor tax increases as at least part of a deficit reduction strategy — a number consisting mostly of those who want an equal emphasis on spending cuts and tax increases.

    The major partisan distinctions in response to this question reflect the choice between mostly/only spending cuts versus the equal use of spending cuts and tax increases. Republicans are most likely to favor the former; Democrats, the latter. Independents’ views are between these two extremes. Relatively few Americans of any partisan identification favor mostly or only using tax increases to reduce the deficit.

    What does this all mean?

    Americans are likely to tell their elected representatives to cut spending rather than rely on increasing taxes. And, it seems the Democrats in Congress can read the polls and are veering away from the tax increase mentality of the Obama Administration.

  • Barack Obama,  Day By Day,  Rick Perry,  Texas

    Day By Day by Chris Muir April 16, 2009 – UnPlugged

    day by day 041609

    Day By Day by Chris Muir

    President Obama will want Texas Governor Rick Perry’s help in controlling the major Mexico drug cartel problems that have spread throught the United States. But, Perry made it clear that the federal government should NOT interfere with the state’s rights of Texas.

    Now, the secession talk is political theater and cannot be taken seriously. However, Americans must remember that the United States is a union of 50 individual states – each with their own laws.

    Just a little history lesson.

    And, Texas can form four states?


    The Day By Day Archive

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