nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gov't: You're Right There IS Enough Money In Medicare Fraud To Fund The Uninsured...Told Ya.

Finally, some action on Medicare fraud, an $80B loss each year.

The feds apparently did something to crack down on Medicare fraud in the US, according to the Assoc Press (July 16):
"In all, 94 people - including several doctors and nurses - were charged Friday in scams totaling $251 million. Federal authorities, while touting the operation, cautioned the cases represent only a fraction of the estimated $60 billion to $90 billion in Medicare fraud absorbed by taxpayers each year."
You've heard the stories.  A pizza parlor in Florida that was filing claims as a blood transfusion clinic.  The dentist in NY who was filing claims for having done 4000 procedures in one day.

I made the claim a long time ago, before the HCR law was passed, that if we just could prevent or recoup half of what we lose in fraud to Medicare alone it would be enough to fund health care for every uninsured person in the country.

What's ironic is the Administration now agrees, but diverted attention from efficiencies that could be obtained from the system while they were trying to pass the massive overhaul.  Sibelius, the Secretary of HHS, now claims that it was the new law that gave them "new ways to go after folks that we've never had before."

This is false.  The ability to investigate and prosecute fraud was always there, just not done.  The resources available to enforce the law were not provided.  The data shows that Medicare only had enough people and money to investigate 1% of the fraud.

Supporters of the current HCR law were criticized for not doing what could be done simply and quickly.  It's too soon to know whether this new-found commitment to fight crime will be sustained.  As with many government actions, the emphasis may be on making a splash (to answer the critics), then over time letting the effort languish because they want to spend money on other things.

We'll see.  But it's nice to see that there's a little honesty now.

Doc D

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