Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Easy Money

John Dillinger is reported to have said "you get much more with a gun and a smile than just a smile alone".

Dillinger was wrong.

Dillinger never heard of Medicare.

A recent report by NBC News reveals an estimated $60B in fraud committed on the taxpayers by virtue of Medicare fraud.

A recent report by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services noted that 72 percent of the Medicare claims submitted nationwide for HIV/AIDS treatment in 2005 came from South Florida alone. That percentage is of great concern to authorities, since only eight percent of the country's HIV/AIDS Medicare beneficiaries actually live in South Florida,

And no one noticed?

Who's minding the store?

"For every one owner we arrest, another one pops up, maybe even two, tomorrow. It's so lucrative that we have yet to turn the tide."

Stealing from taxpayers. Lucrative.

Interesting choice of words.

One of the most common schemes is the illicit billing for DME, or durable medical equipment, such as oxygen generators, breathing machines, air mattresses, walkers, orthopedic braces and wheelchairs. This scheme involves billions of dollars a year in illegal claims.

And let's not forget the Medicare scooters heavily advertised on TV.

federal officials in Miami pointed to a red electric wheelchair they seized from an illicit company. Normally it would cost about $5,000. But by billing Medicare over and over, nor ever delivering the wheelchair to an actual patient, criminals charged a total of $5 million for that one item alone.

That's some wheelchair.

Here's a bit of trivia. Most folks know that Lyndon Johnson instituted Medicare with a stroke of a pen. But who was the first Medicare beneficiary?

In honor of (Harry) Truman's leadership foresight, Johnson enrolled him as the program's first beneficiary and presented him with the nation's first Medicare card.

So how much does Medicare fraud cost the taxpayer?

thieves now steal an estimated $60 billion a year in taxpayer money that is supposed to finance health care for 43 million American seniors and the disabled.

$60B out of a total $408B spent on Medicare.

That's 15% of the budget lost to fraud.

So who wants "Medicare for all"?

If John Dillinger were alive, he probably would be in the thick of it. He might even be willing to make a go of it with just a smile . . .
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