Medicare pays upwards of $60 billion per year to con artists who defraud the federal government in what has become a quick, easy and relatively undetectable crime, even while lawmakers say that the problem could be stemmed by removing beneficiaries Social Security numbers from their coverage cards and developing a claims-verification process.
Quite simply, Medicare is not sophisticated enough to address the fraud that runs rampant through it, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said during a Senate Republican Conference meeting. Every year, Medicares anemic fraud control lets slip by an array of schemes that cost the Medicare program and taxpayers $60 billion, if not more.
A conference committee report cited a number of cases where Medicare was taken for millions of dollars, including instances where medical devices were billed multiple times and medications ordered with no intent of ever reaching a patient. Cornyn and Sen. Mel Martinez (D-Fla.) have sponsored legislation which, in part, would require Medicare to stop using Social Security numbers as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. (For a longer version of this story, please click here.) -- by Matthew DoBias