Scams in Healthcare– a problem with capitalism?

It’s not enough that we allow drug companies to take advantage of their patent protection and overcharge, but we also have to deal with ye olde American revenue generating scams.  Unfortunately it seems to be in the American character to take advantage of non-regulation.  So drug companies without the restraint of negotiating prices with Medicare up the prices yearly without good reason, save their desire to maximize prices.  We, the U.S. pay more for drugs than any other country in the world.  Perfectly legal but very costly.

Similarly without regulation and oversight scams in Medicare occur.….

The wheelchair scam was designed to exploit blind spots in Medicare, which often pays insurance claims without checking them first. Criminals disguised themselves as medical-supply companies. They ginned up bogus bills, saying they’d provided expensive wheelchairs to Medicare patients — who, in reality, didn’t need wheelchairs at all. Then the scammers asked Medicare to pay them back, so they could pocket the huge markup that the government paid on each chair.

A lot of the time, Medicare was fooled. The government paid.

Since 1999, Medicare has spent $8.2 billion to procure power wheelchairs and “scooters” for 2.7 million people. Today, the government cannot even guess at how much of that money was paid out to scammers.

Read the article for full details.

Medicynical Note:  Who is to blame?  The scammers? or the regulators (and lack thereof) or perish the thought the patients ?  All to some degree.

We have a political party dedicated to decreasing regulation, still think that’s a good idea?  Perhaps the solution is to become libertarians and do away with  government intervention, including Medicare, Medicaid and all government medical programs including licensing, drug testing and development, patents, etc and let everyone compete.  A few people may die, collateral damage to our quest for deregulation, because they can’t afford care but perhaps the change will encourage honesty and truth through the “music” of the marketplace?  Or do we have a problem that money makes people do funny (not ha ha) things?

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