It may be the biggest long-running scam in America. Medicare and Medicaid fraud—estimated at somewhere between $60 billion to well over $100 billion a year—makes credit card fraud look like petty theft. Even the illegal drug business takes in less than the crime of scamming the government out of health care dollars intended for the poor and the elderly. Indeed, the annual amount of fraud dwarves the amount of new yearly spending on health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare.
Between the ACA and stimulus money, President Barack Obama has committed a half-billion dollars to fighting fraud. New tools, such as strike forces and a computer system that's modeled on technology used in the private sector, promise to stop fraud in its tracks.
In February, the Health and Human Services Department announced a record recovery of more than $4 billion. But three-quarters of this year's record recovery stems from the resolution of a lawsuit that began a decade ago, for fraud first committed during the Clinton administration.
Will the Obama adminstration's new efforts finally put a stop to America's biggest crime? Or will the feds—who have dedicated and rededicated themselves to stopping such fraud for more than 40 years—fail yet again?
Reason TV talks with the National Association of Medicaid Directors' Matt Salo, former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Thomas Scully, and Reason magazine's Peter Suderman, who agree that despite recent headlines, there's little reason to think that Medicare and Medicaid fraud will become a thing of the past.
About 6 minutes.
Produced by Todd Krainin. Camera by Meredith Bragg, Josh Swain, and Krainin. Narrated by Nick Gillespie.
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