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2017-12-26 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 293 references Ignore this thread
Truly Bizarre Treasury Data
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I'm not sure what's going on here, but this much I do know -- nobody is talking about this in the media, and they should be.

The latest MTS (Monthly Treasury Statement) has some interesting data that I cannot explain when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.

Specifically, it appears that Medicare and Medicaid spending is down materially in the first couple of months of the fiscal year (by about 5%).  This is a chimera, however, and the internals are really troubling.

First, the funds given to the states for Medicaid are up by 4.55%.  That's bad, especially considering that we were under a "freeze" for the first month or so.  Worse, by a lot, are the SCHIP (children's health fund) payments, which I've flagged repeatedly as hideously bad -- they're up an outrageous 13.9% over comparable year period.

Medicare hospitalization is up 6.78% -- down a bit over the 9% run rate of recent years, but not by much.

So how did they get a decrease of 5% overall?

Two ways: They are underfunding the trust fund (although the received taxes are up) by 31% on a comparable year basis and are also not paying drug makers (by an astounding 51%.)  It's essentially impossible that half the senior citizen meds have suddenly stopped being prescribed, so this is quite-clearly a stiff-arm treatment coming from Treasury.

I suspect this is part of Treasury's gaming of the debt ceiling, but nonetheless it bears watching into the new year -- especially when our "lovely" asteroid-munchworthy Congress inevitably lifts the limit at which point an utterly huge shift in those numbers should "magically" appear.

That is, unless the MTS has become as accurate as the DOD's accounting....

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