$44 billion paid in Medicare fraud could cover sequester cuts

medicare fraud

Agents from the Office of the Inspector General moving in on a clinic suspected of engaging in Medicare fraud.
photo credit medicare handbook.org

According to a recent report released to Congress, almost 8 percent of Medicare payments during 2012 were the result of fraud, waste or abuse.

The Government Accounting Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress. As such, it prepares a risk list at each congressional session targeting governmental waste, fraud and abuse. It’s findings relative to Medicare are sobering.

In 2012, Medicare “covered more than 49 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries at an estimated cost of $555 billion, and reported improper payments estimated to be more than $44 billion,” the report stated according to CNSNews.

$44 billion is 7.93 percent of $555 billion. At that rate, if the government were a private enterprise, it would have been out of business a long time ago. Business wouldn’t be able to survive with that kind of a record, and consumers couldn’t afford it.

A few months back, my bank both sent me an email and phoned me about a suspected fraudulent $2.50 charge. Banks operate under a razor-thin profit margin thanks to government regulations — most recently the Dodd-Frank Act.

Therefore, banks owe a duty to both their shareholders and their customers to keep an eye out for fraud, no matter how insignificant. It’s too bad the government couldn’t learn to do thew same.

If government kept a closer eye on our money, very likely we wouldn’t have a $16.4 trillion national debt.

Read more at CNS News.

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About Michael Dorstewitz

Mike has been with BizPac Review almost from the beginning. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeBPR.

  • KB Cook

    Have you ever noticed that fuzzy math never works out right?

  • http://medicarewire.com David Bynon

    If the government would look after our [taxpayer] money as closely is it does state secrets and military personnel, the Medicare fraud problem would largely go away. The question we should all be asking is why hasn't CMS implemented a new Medicare card that uses the dirt-cheap, and thus far un-crackable, CAC (common access card) technology? It's cheap prevention that stops the problem at the source. Instead, the government spends even more money on law enforcement to track down the fraudsters.

    • http://medigapdeals.com Angel Padillia

      How is a new Medicare card supposed to fix the fraud problem?

      • http://medicarewire.com David Bynon

        It works by only allowing a bill to be generated when two valid cards are present (e.g., the healthcare provider's card and the Medicare beneficiary's card). No card, no bill… no more problem. =)

  • http://www.medicarebenefits.us Jeanine Brienza

    The current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director is Jeffrey Zients. His main concern is to prepare the budget and to measure the quality of agency programs policies and procedures. As this is actually his second term and I would like to say………..What the heck! $44billion dollars and has been Fraudulently wasted or abused, are these numbers not large enough for some one to take sever measure to put a system in place. What other numbers are you missing?

    • http://medigapdeals.com Angel Padillia

      No, the Medicare fraud, waste and abuse number is more like $75 billion or more, up from an estimates $65 billion in 2011. From what I hear, a lot of the fraud originates in Cuba (where I'm from). The Cuban criminals like it because it's easier than drugs and has less risk.