Today’s clickbait news era often runs on gossipy headlines and downplays stories that are important. A perfect example of this relates to a historic takedown of fraudsters ripping off the US government and the taxpayers who fund it.
More than 100 physicians busted and a billion bucks should draw more than a nod from media.
Last week the US Dept. of Justice announced an epic takedown of healthcare fraudsters. As budget hawks in DC aim at various cuts and budget gluttons aim at just printing more money and growing the bureaucracy, more than $1 billion dollars went into the hands of fraudsters playing US government healthcare programs like a fiddle. This was a single initiative. Far more in billions have gone down the rabbit hole.
The DOJ release said:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced today the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants across 41 federal districts, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings.”
In all, DOJ charged 412 defendants across 41 federal districts. The entire release about the healthcare fraud operation is posted on the DOJ website.
If you read other releases at DOJ, you’ll likely be amazed at the level of healthcare fraud exploiting a federal bureaucracy whose improper payments (not just related to healthcare) rose to record heights in 2016—more than $144 billion. Those improper payments increased during Barack Obama’s presidency, with subscriber-funded (by diktat pre-Obama) Medicare and the Medicaid welfare program totting up sizable amounts.
Levels of fraud are so troublesome the US Health and Human Services inspector general even has a healthcare ‘Most Wanted’ list. Many on the list are foreign nationals.
Is it possible for an entity as large as the US bureaucracy to track trillions in spending or anticipated spending? Not really. The obvious solution is to downsize the federal bureaucracy and block tax revenue to individual states—that would be more in line with the US Constitution.
The problem of healthcare fraud isn’t new. It’s conceivable that a trillion dollars have gone down the rabbit hole over the years. Former president George W. Bush started the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 2007.
Don’t rely on national media to inform you about the government your hard-earned dollars fund. Vast amounts of information are available on websites ending in .gov.
Instead of tuning into the evening news natter, start paying attention to what the government and officials you elect actually do. It’s right there beneath your nose.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 20, 2017)
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