COLUMN: Defrauding Medicare a reprehensible practice

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 4:06 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 27, 2010

People who participate in scams to defraud Medicare are the lowest form of animal life.

Because these kinds of people can live in this country — where so many people are unable to afford health care — and steal from a program that seeks to provide help for elderly people with health problems, places them in the same category with rattlesnakes that will bite anyone. Doctors and nurses who are found guilty of this kind of criminal activity should be stripped of their credentials.

When you think of all the wonderful advances that have been made in medical science, you can't help but feel that these scammers are a disgrace to their profession. They belong to a segment in our society that recognizes no boundaries. Most of us have respect for members of the healing profession, and we resent being deceived by some of them.

There are, of course, stupid people in our society who that think government money is free money. That this is taxpayer's money paid into the public till by rich and poor, young and old, and everyone who earns taxable income makes no difference to them, which means these are the type of characters who would steal — in fact have stolen — from their own neighbors.

The Associated Press recently reported on some fraud schemes, and these cases involving "professional patients" who work with bogus doctors likely account for only a small portion of the taxpayers' money pocketed by the criminals. It's only common sense to believe that when actual patients were treated, they and their insurance companies were charged for the services provided by the scamming doctors..

When it comes to the subject of health care reform, we hear little or nothing about the regulations that have been added to enable the government to overhaul the system itself. That's part of the problem with the two-party system. Their members waste so much verbiage attacking each other that the public is not informed of pertinent information unless they take the time and trouble to wade through the bills after they are passed.

I doubt that most of us were surprised that a great deal of the fraud was concentrated in Miami. With so many affluent older people retiring inFlorida, there's probably a great need for medical service. And it seems so often the case where there is an abundance of money in circulation, an environment is created, which nourishes greed. In other words, enough is never enough.

I'm sure sociologists can tell us all the ways in which we Americans chose to go in the wrong direction. It is so regrettable that we had such a wonderful opportunity to create a truly Great Society, but we became so engrossed in money, sex and celebrity that we threw it all away. Nowadays, we can only read about the contributions the people of wealth made to this country. We can only read about men like Andrew Carnegie and his grants to libraries to make books of knowledge available to everyone. These days, we seem to have a class of rich people, who are trying to get richer by stealing everything that's not nailed down.

We seem proud to demonstrate to poorer countries how the love of money has corrupted us. The thoughts of stealing from the coffers of the poor and sick are so morally degrading that most of us can only wonder what circumstances brought these individuals to such a low point.

So many young people being brought up in situations where they never have to endure the consequences of their behavior is contributing to our social decline. We're told that if something happened in a person's childhood that makes him steal, kill or beat his wife and children, he is not really responsible for his actions. Only people who have had perfect childhoods should have to pay for their misbehavior or so we're told.

We're very fortunate we have some people among us who are determined to leave this world better than they found it. And there seems to be enough in every community to make it possible for us to witness some good things around us to make life livable. These people work hard at doing good. Athough it doesn't make up for all the evil in our society, we know overcoming it is still possible.

I hope those who are defrauding Medicare will stop it. If not, they shouldn't be surprised if it's not there when they need it.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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Carlos Sanchez July 27, 2010 | 4:45 p.m.

You talk about the people ie: citizens who are defrauding Medicare/Medicaid but what about the system itself that fails to regulate itself? There is the prime source of the loss of money and resources. Why not concentrate on that point before you go pointing any fingers at the citizens?

The facts are that Medicare/Medicaid spend millions if not billions in equipment that when done with is never ever recycled back into the system but it is just replaced at tax payer expense. True fact believe it or not.

Crutches,walkers,wheel chairs both power and manual,
portable toilet systems,beds and more are just replaced once used and their service done with for that client and either left with the clients to be discarded,sold on the private market or just thrown into a landfill all at tax payer expense all because of the present Medicare/Medicaid policies. They claim everything must be replaced with new for insurance purposes. Did you get that last part? For "Insurance Purposes". Yes big Insurance has it's hand in this too.

There are a few charities across the nation who gather these items up for refurbishing and such but they sell them once again over places like the internet and eBay at a large cost and profit to them. Take a look on the internet and eBay for Refurbished Power Wheel Chairs some time.

This constant defrauding of Medicaid and Medicare will not stop until the internal policy is changed that reclaims these types of medical equipment and recycles it correctly.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 27, 2010 | 5:39 p.m.

You make a good point, Senior Sanchez.
And once the public option becomes the only option for all peoples living in America, it will only get worse.

Funny how the president's wife is more concerned about fat children becoming a burden on the future ObamaCare health care program for all, instead of advocating for corrective measures in the existing HHS and VA programs currently in place.
If you can't make the existing program better, how can you take on the responsibility to make a Universal Health Care program efficient and corruption free?
Clean up house of the "bureaucrats in collusion" and have checks and balances in place that make sense.
More paper-pushing federal employees on the payroll, trying to administer an overlay on top of the existing government programs, is asking for even greater disaster and waste.
What's next? A Federal Teacher System and a Federal Police Department overseen by D.C. politicians and Federal Union control?

(Report Comment)

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