Politics & policy

Insight into federal and state health care legislation & CMS regulation

Democrats Ready To Turn Their Guns On Medicare Fraud

Medicare, the quintessential Democratic entitlement program, is now under heavy attack for fraud, waste and abuse — from Democrats. Leading the search-and-destroy mission is Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, chairman of the party's policy committee.

"We're going to make Medicare fraud a top priority on the Senate agenda this year," Reid said, citing an instance in which Medicare was billed $400 for physical therapy. The "therapy" amounted to teaching an elderly man how to use a walker.

Accusing Republicans of trying to "covertly" destroy the Great Society program, Reid said he wants to divert money saved by ferreting out fraud to other programs that benefit the elderly, a popular idea with older constituents.

Look for the Department of Health and Human Services to announce "National Senior Waste Patrol" demonstration programs that will train nurses and accountants to work with the elderly to identify and eliminate fraud. Thirteen states already have similar programs in place.

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