Medicare lost 6.7 billion dollars to fraud and error in 2010, according to a new inspector’s general report. Something close to that number is likely lost every year, and NPR explains how this happens: of the claims examined overall, more than half “were billed at the wrong rate or lacked documentation to justify the service.” Moreover, the investigation found that while some doctors bill for procedures cheaper than the ones they actually provided, many more billed for procedures that were more expensive than what they provided.
In light of the report’s findings, the inspector general’s office suggested that CMS should investigate those doctors who charge for more expensive procedures than they actually deliver. And how did the CMS respond to this shocking report?
But in its reply to the findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, said it doesn’t plan to review the billings of doctors who almost always charge for the most expensive visits because it isn’t cost-effective to do so.
To put it simply: Medicare knows some doctors are ripping off taxpayers but lacks the ability or will to find out how bad the problem is, much less put a stop to it. If this is the glorious health care system we are building, God help us all.