December 22, 2011

Medicare Fraud

MSNBC news recently reported on shell companies stealing billions of dollars from Medicare. What you do is set up a bunch of fake companies, a process that is disturbingly easy to do in many states. Then you start sending in bills from a bunch of nonexistent clinics. You keep doing this until it looks like you might get caught then you fold all these shell companies and start the whole thing all over again. Add it all up and you are looking at losses of nearly $48 billion, almost 10 percent of the total claims paid out by Medicare.

Okay, call me crazy, but this doesn't seem to be an insoluble problem. The weak link in this fraud is the clinics that are are supposedly treating people. How about posting the addresses of new clinics each month and then letting us citizens go out and see if there is actually a clinic at the address? If instead of a clinic you see a UPS store or a vacant building, whip out the old cell phone and take a picture. Return to the web site and go to the "I want to report a fraud" page and post the address and the photo.

Too simple to be true? Maybe, but with a few million gumshoes on the case, it would seem hard to believe that we couldn't knock down a substantial portion of these fraudulent clinics right from the get-go. One thing that won't help is blaming the politicians. This is simple fraud on a massive scale, fraud that is ripping money right out of our pockets. Let's get all us old farts on the case and see what we can do.

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