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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Clean the Medicare House, Bring Health Reform Home

Published October 30, 2009 11:24 AM by Nancy Malaga

A recent segment on CBS’ 60 Minutes posed an interesting solution for how to pay for health reform: eliminate Medicare fraud.

Sounds like a good idea. According to the expose, Medicare fraud is a $70 billion a year scam. Times that number by 10, and the government can recoup a good chunk of the $1 trillion estimated cost for covering the uninsured over 10 years.

But let’s get serious.

Listening to the informant on 60 minutes describe how easy it is to rip off the government, makes you wonder. What kind of system lets companies bill for artificial limbs two of a kind over consecutive months – for the same patient! Or pays out $2 million dollars a month to a company address – no questions asked.

"You're waking up every day making $20,000, $30,000, $40,000," the informant told 60 Minutes. “Every day, almost literally.” In fact, Medicare fraud has become so lucrative — and easy to pull off — it is replacing drug dealing as the country’s No. 1 criminal activity.

Opponents to healthcare reform can make their point that the government cannot manage a state-run healthcare system. Their argument? While the extant healthcare system may be inefficient, corrupt and unregulated, so is the government.

Should the government decide to really go after Medicare fraud in the hopes of funding healthcare reform? They have some soul searching to do.





posted by Nancy Malaga


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