Monday, September 28, 2009

The REAL problem with government healthcare....

Okay, so I read this article about Medicare fraud. I mean, you have to be naive to think that no one ever tries to scam anyone else, including the government. But THIS...this is ridiculous. Here are just a few tidbits from the article (Reader's Digest, October 2009):

"One pair of scam artists in Florida used the Medicare identification numbers of DEAD DOCS to bilk $1.3 million from the government--also known as we the taxpayers.....More than 50,000 of the bogus claims involved doctors who had been deceased for at least TEN YEARS."


"Here's another good one: the podiatrist who allegedly billed the government for treating people with no feet. Dr. David Quang Pham was indicted in St. Louis this past June for charging the governemnt for nonexistent procedures that he backed up with phony notes (Pham has pleaded not guilty) {of course}. As an unforgettable press release from the local U.S. Attorney's office put it, 'Dr. Pham submitted reimbursement claims for treating the feet of patients whose feet had been amputated prior to the dates of service.' Once again, it was the taxpayers who had to, er, foot the bill."

I'll just let that one sink in a minute.

"The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association estimates that more than $60 BILLION a year is lost to fruad." Hmmm...I wonder how many Czar's you can employ for $60 BILLION a year? Maybe some of them should concentrate on plugging these holes instead of creating more programs for people to scam.

* Michael DeJesus Huarte set up 14 health care clinics to treat cancer and AIDS, and billed the government for $70 MILLION in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

* 1,581 "medical equipment companies" billed Medicare for $97 MILLION.

* a "pharmacy" in Florida allegedly selling nebulizers for asthma patients was actually a broom closet, and the pharmacist, an air-conditioning repairman.

* In Michigan, Dr. Robert Stokes removed MINOR skin blemishes telling his patients they had cancer, scaring them half to death, and jacking up his Medicare reimbursement.

* In Pennsylvania, a dentist pleaded guilty to doing root canals on patients who didn't need them

"In January 2007, Medicare shut down 18 medical equipment sellers in Florida after investigators discovered they were phony. But the companies were reinstated on appeal--only to be indicted several months later, after they had been paid another $5 MILLION in taxpayer money. Loopholes that allow quick reinstatements-OFTEN AFTER JUST A SWORN STATEMENT FROM OWNERS-must be closed."

Okay, read that again. They were closed for being phony, appealed, and were reinstated (and PAID) for their word. Only the government.

The article ends: "True change may take some time. But here's one small step Washington could take right away to restore some confidence: Make sure that doctors collecting our dollars STILL HAVE A PULSE."

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