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Medicare Fraud: How Many Dead Doctors Does it Take to Prescribe $90 Million in Medical Equipment for Medicare Patients?

Posted Oct 07 2008 7:18pm
The Health Insurance Advocate Cary Hall interviews Cato Institute's Michael Cannon to specify why Medicare is not the model to use for National Health Care

Kansas City, MO (PRWEB) July 18, 2008 -- While some politicians are pointing to Medicare as proof that a national health care plan can work in the United States, Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, wholeheartedly disagrees.

Cannon joins Cary Hall this Saturday, July 20, on The Health Insurance Advocate Show (HIA Network) to discuss the fallacy that Medicare can be used as a model for future national health care plans in the US.

Listeners are invited to join The Health Insurance Advocate Show Saturday, July 19, at 12 p.m. CST to learn about what Cannon foresees for seniors with Medicare as the system faces potential change.

Important questions covered in this week's show:
• What happens when Medicare sets medical service costs too high or too low?
• Exactly how do they arrive at their "allowable rates and charges"?
• If reimbursements are cut in the future, which doctors will no longer accept Medicare patients?
• And more importantly, which doctors will continue to accept Medicare patients?
• What does "gaming the system" mean?
• Will all doctors eventually say "No more Medicare patients"?

Listeners will learn about these and other important questions, including Cannon's view on how free market solutions can correct the worsening Medicare situation as well as prevent a National Health Care disaster.

Cannon will also discuss studies which show that Medicare's universal coverage has lead to thirty percent wasted spending much of which includes $100 million that has been spent on services serving no beneficial health-related purpose. Meanwhile, Americans have suffered ten separate national tax increases to pay for Medicare in its short forty-year history.

While Medicare currently allows patients to see any doctor they wish, Cannon contends that this could easily change in the near future.

"Because Medicare does not scrutinize medical services like commercial carriers, doctors have come to rely on the Medicare system to pay them without question," says Cannon. "In the past when Republicans have attempted to cut Medicare payments to doctors by up to eleven percent, doctors have successfully persuaded Congress not to cut the payments. Should the cuts eventually pass in Congress, many doctors would likely stop accepting Medicare patients."

Hall and Cannon will also discuss recent ABC and New York Times reports that show Medicare suppliers have consistently abused the badly managed Medicare system by filing claims which contained the identification numbers of 18,240 deceased physicians. One deceased doctor's identification number was used 484 times from 2003 to 2006 even though he died in 1999. The Medicare supplier that fraudulently used the number netted $544,789.

The Associated Press reported that "Sellers of wheelchairs, drugs, and other medical supplies collected as much as $93 million in fraudulent Medicare claims based on prescriptions from doctors who actually were dead, some for 10 years or more, a congressional investigation has found."

Outside of the context of the Medicare debate, opinions expressed by the Cato Institute do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cary Hall or the HIA Network.

About Cary Hall -- Cary Hall is the president of Benefits By Design and the host of The Health Insurance Advocate Show. Cary has focused his company to be a consumer advocate organization. Cary is a top producer for Coventry Health Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Golden Rule, American Medical and United Healthcare. Cary is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters and The Greater Kansas City Benefit Professionals Association.
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