Since health care reform is on everyone’s mind these days, how about we start with wiping out the massive fraud in the government health system (Medicare) we already have! Yesterday a reader sent us this article from AP. Looks like the Obama Administration is doing that and we’re going to have to praise and thank Holder and Sebelius for these busts—of immigrants!
BOSTON– Federal authorities arrested 32 people, including doctors, in a major Medicare fraud bust Wednesday in New York, Louisiana, Boston and Houston, targeting scams such as “arthritis kits” — expensive braces that many patients never used.
It’s the third major sweep since Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in May they were adding millions of dollars and dozens of agents to combat a problem that costs the U.S. billions each year.
Using about a dozen agents in targeted cities, including Miami, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, has recovered $371 million in false Medicare claims and charged 145 people across the country in just two months.
More than 200 agents worked on Wednesday’s $16 million bust that included 12 search warrants at health care businesses and homes across the Houston area.
Read on and notice that the AP story gives no hint of who the scammers are, but since we had recently seen the bust of alleged Somali home health care fraud in Lewiston, ME, we were suspicious. So after searching around, bingo!, I found this article from the Houston Chronicle which describes the bust in Houston and identifies those arrested as immigrants.
Investigators say one reason Medicare fraud is on the rise in Houston is a steady influx of immigrants who, in some instances, consider gaming the government for benefits an acceptable practice, said one top Justice Department investigator, speaking on condition he would not be identified.
“There’s a real problem of health care fraud in recent immigrant communities — we see it everyday,” the official said. “One of the reasons is you’re looking at people who don’t come up through the educational system, they’re impoverished, they think this country is very rich, and they don’t view taking advantage of a government program as a crime.”
The federal charges, outlined in seven indictments returned by a Houston grand jury, allege the Houston health providers filed false claims for so-called “arthritis kits” — a collection of orthopedic braces — expensive battery-powered wheelchairs and feeding tube equipment and supplies, according to a Justice Department news release.
Everyone’s got their very own feeding tube!
Investigators said a preliminary review of Medicare claims for feeding tubes in Houston defied reality, noting it appeared ‘‘that in certain ZIP codes every older person should have a tube in them.”
Of course, this article only mentions that immigrants are involved in Houston so if any of you have a few minutes to spare, help me find more articles from the other cities that identify those arrested.
Gosh, is Attorney General Holder targeting brown-skinned people?