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Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

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GAO: Fake Companies Approved Under Medicare Program

POSTED: 05:08 PM ET, 08/ 4/2008 by Derek Kravitz
TAGS: GAO, Medicare

The government is putting millions of Medicare dollars at risk by allowing phony sellers of wheelchairs, prosthetics and other medical supplies to submit reimbursement claims, according to a Government Accountability Office report released today.

Government investigators uncovered the weakness in accounting controls when they sought to follow up on oversight gaps that have plagued the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since at least 2005, The Associated Press' Hope Yen reports. Roughly $1 billion of the $10 billion in annual Medicare payments the government makes for medical equipment were deemed improper.

Two sham companies that the GAO set up to test the system during the past year were approved for payments, even though they lacked clients or any medical inventory, the report says.

Investigators claim that the fake companies easily could have been uncovered: A telephone number given to Medicare staffers rang to an unmanned telephone in the GAO building.

"Had our operation continued successfully, we could have fraudulently billed Medicare for substantial sums -- potentially reaching millions of dollars," the report says.

By Derek Kravitz |  August 4, 2008; 5:08 PM ET Washington Watchdogs
Previous: Details Emerge Slowly in Anthrax Case | Next: Abramoff Associate Avoids Halfway House


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This proves there shouldn't be any government sponsored health insurance. The less government involvement in our lives, the better.

Posted by: twotimetuna | August 5, 2008 7:09 AM

Using that simplistic logic we also shouldn't rely on private insurers either. You do know that Private insurers have been caught in fraud and abuse too, right? Most recently several private insurers in Medicare Advantaged had to be sanctioned for defrauding seniors. This simplistic "government-bad/business-good" world view is why our healthcare system is in the mess it's in.

Posted by: Wrightk | August 5, 2008 9:17 AM

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