Our government can “lose” $2.3 trillion the day before the world’s largest terrorist attack, and nobody seems to care. That’s 14% of our current national debt, gone and no questions are asked. And if an honest government accountant tries to do his job in finding out where this money went, he gets harassed and reassigned by his supervisors who ask him, “Why do you even care?”
Wasteful government spending is the name of the game in Washington. They waste taxpayer money all the time on bailouts, pet projects, parties, fancy cars, jets and TV’s, politicians’ vacations, you name it. Billions and billions of dollars frequently “go missing.” But when they sense that someone might not be paying their fair share in taxes or accepting too much in government reimbursement, all of a sudden, they want “justice.” How dare these individuals steal from the government, they say.
In a recent “Medicare fraud” crackdown, the Department of Health and Human Services has charged a total of 91 doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel in 7 different states with false billing. HHS is alleging that these healthcare entities are responsible for overbilling $429 million.
Overbilling is something that healthcare providers do to compensate for the low reimbursement that they will get from either the private insurance company or government health insurance like Medicare. Medicare reimbursements don’t even cover the costs. I’m not justifying overbilling, just explaining one reason they do it. It shows that the whole system is messed up, not just hospitals, and not just insurance companies, and as usual, the government is to blame. As Obamacare continues to be implemented, reimbursements will continue to go down, leaving providers the option either to shut down their practices or resort to fraud to keep themselves afloat.
I used to work at a hospital that saw a lot of elderly patients. Most of our revenue came from Medicare. As well acquainted as we were with Medicare billing procedures, Medicare was always changing their rules, and every year, they would get more complicated and convoluted. I don’t know anything about the 91 healthcare providers being charged with fraud. But I do know that Medicare fraud is very easy to commit because of all the rules and regulations regarding how to bill for certain patients. One can only do so much to ensure that everything is done perfectly according to Medicare’s rules. A biller might have accidentally missed something years before that ended up getting exposed during the annual audit, and all of a sudden, those involved are Medicare fraudsters.
It’s like that statistic that says that people commit on average 5 felonies a day. There are so many laws out there that we don’t even know we’re committing them.
So is Medicare really “cracking down” on fraud, or are they just trying to find ways to get some of their money back? With our government as bankrupt and corrupt as it is, I’d venture to guess it’s the latter. Sure, doctors and hospitals shouldn’t commit fraud, but mainly because the government hates competition.