Did Obama really turn down IBM’s offer to help reduce costs?

I know this has been making the rounds for some time because this is the second time my Dad has sent it to me and the first was some time ago.  The link to Fox News, at least, is legitimate.  Does anyone know anything about the underlying story?


IBM offered to help reduce Medicare fraud for free!! The offer is true. Zukerman, US News and World Report, owner, a Democrat, was interviewed on Fox and confirmed it. IBM has confirmed it. You won’t believe it!

IBM offered to help reduce Medicare fraud for free!

What if I told you that the Chairman and CEO of IBM, Samuel J. Palmisano, approached President Obama and members of his administration before the healthcare bill debates with a plan that would reduce healthcare expenditures by $900 billion? Given the Obama Administration’s adamancy that the United States of America simply had to make healthcare (read: health insurance) affordable for even the most dedicated welfare recipient, one would think he would have leaned forward in his chair, cupped his ear and said, “Tell me more!”

And, what if I told you that the cost to the federal government for this program was nothing, zip, nada, zilch?!

And, what if I told you that, in the end and after two meetings, President Obama and his team, instead of embracing a program that was proven to save money and one that was projected to save almost one trillion dollars – a
private sector program costing the taxpayers nothing, zip, nada, zilch – said, “Thanks but no thanks” and then embarked on passing one of the most despised pieces of legislation in U.S. history?!

Well, it’s all true!!

Samuel J. Palmisano, the Chairman of the Board and CEO for IBM, said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview that he offered to provide the Obama Administration with a program that would curb healthcare claims fraud and abuse by almost one trillion dollars, but the Obama White House turned the offer down.

Mr. Palmisano is quoted as saying during a taping of

The Wall Street Journal’s Viewpoints program on September 14, 2010:

“We could have improved the quality and reduced the cost of the healthcare system by $900 billion…I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down.”

A second meeting between Mr. Palmisano and the Obama Administration took place two weeks later, with no change in the Obama Administration’s stance.

A call placed to IBM on October 8, 2010, by FOX News confirmed, via a spokesperson, that Mr. Palmisano stands by his statement.

Speaking with FOX News’ Stuart Varney, Mort Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report, said, “It’s a little bit puzzling because I think there is a huge amount of both fraud and inefficiency that American business is a lot more comfortable with and more effective in trying to reduce. And this is certainly true because the IBM people have studied this very carefully.

When Palmisano went to the White House and made that proposal, it was based upon a lot of work and it was not accepted. And it’s really puzzling…These are very, very responsible people and don’t have a political ax to grind.

In Mr. Obama’s shunning of a private sector program that would have saved our country almost $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures, presented to him as he declared a ‘crisis in healthcare,’ he proves two things beyond any doubt: that he is anti-Capitalist and anti-private sector in nature – and that he can no longer be trusted to tell the truth in both his political declarations or espoused goals.”

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    I have yet to see a denial. The story began in mid- September 2010, so I am not surprised if it’s stewing in its own juices the past 10 months. I suggest holding the link below and keep checking back on status.
    The 2010 Health Care Reform legislation did include funding for Medicare fraud detection.  But focusing on investigation after the fraud occurs and on TV warnings to Medicare recipients urging them to “guard the card” will not solve a problem estimated to be at least $50B – billion with a B – dollars a year!  In fact, the legislation expects these efforts to save only $2B a year – 4% of the estimated reduction in benefit payments mandated by the Act.
    Imagine the fraud level if/when Obamacare is in full swing.
    I’ve read through all the comments at the link below (a couple of dozen starting in Jan. 2011 and the last one two weeks ago). Some readers have attempted to reach their representative for a comment – they’re still waiting.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

     “We could have improved the quality and reduced the cost of the healthcare system by $900 billion…I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down.

    The ellipses, as well as the gap in the FoxNews video, creates a misrepresentation. The second half of the statement does NOT refer to the same topic as the first half of the statement. The $900 billion savings concerned the health care system as a whole, and that was through centralized, government purchasing, just like IBM negotiates its pricing. The second half of the statement concerns fraud, $200 billion including within the private sector, and from the interview, it’s hard to tell how much savings Palmisano thinks he could find there, nor does he indicate that his solution would be free forever. Certainly, no one can eliminate all fraud, and as it concerns private insurance, businesses would have to buy his software, which they are free to do anyway. 
    Discussion of the government and healthcare starts at about 8 minutes into the video. 

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Very large IT projects, particularly those done for the government, don’t have all that glorious a track record. An example here: the story of a software failure

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