Hey, “red tape” sounds so intimidating, doesn’t it? Let’s call it blue tape, sky-blue tape. And that word “bureaucracy” scares people. How about “nice-people-eaucracy?” And if you have an outfit called “Health Care Financing Administration,” which strikes fear into the hearts of hospitals and doctors because of invariably frustrating regulations and red tape oops, I mean, sky-blue tape why not find a name that sounds sweeter and more accommodating?
The Health Care Financing Administration is the government bureau er, I mean, the nice-people place that runs Medicare and Medicaid. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson says it’s hard to love a place with a clunky name like Health Care Financing Administration, so he’s holding a contest to change it. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, the name isn’t the problem. They say, “Doctors and hospitals know HCFA creates too many forms to fill out, takes too long to reimburse claims . . . Last year alone, HCFA made about $12 billion in improper payments.”
Twelve billion dollars in bungled payments? Well, that sounds kind of harsh. Let’s just say “mislaid payments.” The name change will cost millions of dollars. It would mean reprinting stationery and forms and information kits. Money and energy that Citizens Against Government Waste says would be better spent reforming the agency itself, to make it more reasonable to deal with. That’s why they’ve awarded Tommy Thompson their coveted Porker of the Month Award. Hey, congratulations, Secretary Thompson. Although that word “porker” does seem a bit blunt.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.