Medicare fraud unabated

Washington Times:

Medicare fraud is a multibillion-dollar business preying on an ever-increasing number of retiring baby boomers who often are being charged for medical treatments and products they don't need and for services they don't receive.

The health care reform legislation pending in Congress -- and under debate in the Senate -- relies on reining in these fraudulent schemes to help finance coverage for the uninsured. But analysts in and out of government question whether those savings will ever be found.

Despite bolstered efforts by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities to crack down on fraudsters, abuse continues to grow.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the Justice Department's criminal division, told the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on crime and drugs in May that 3 percent to 10 percent of the $800 billion spent on Medicare and Medicaid each year "is lost to waste, fraud and abuse."

"As government spending on health care for the elderly, disabled and poor increases, so does the opportunity for fraud. Criminals are devising more sophisticated ways of stealing billions of dollars from federally administered health care programs, and they are stealing it faster now than ever before," he told The Washington Times.

...

Much of the dishonesty is in regions deemed "high risk for Medicare fraud," such as Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit and Houston. But Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the Department of Health and Human Services said his office finds fraud "everywhere it looks."

...

This seems a very dubious source of funds to pay for increased health care spending. In fact, it suggest that more spending will give more opportunity for those participating in the fraud. If the GAO scoring used figures from reducing fraud as a source of funds for paying for the Democrat health care scheme it may have been participating in fraud itself.

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