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Tags federal budget , medicare , obamacare , spending growth

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Old 1st March 2012, 01:03 AM   #1
Puppycow
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Medicare spending growth slowing under Obama

A New Year’s Surprise: Medicare Spending is Slowing on Its Own

Quote:
Here’s some good news to start the New Year. Without any major change in its structure, Medicare’s spending growth has started to slow down on its own.

Medicare costs have risen by an average of about 12% a year since the early 1970s, and they grew by about 9% a year between 2000 and 2009. But things started to change in 2010 according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That year’s increase was only 4.3%. And in 2011, it was even lower, at 3.8%. Projections now put the growth rate in 2012 at close to zero.

The spending slowdown for Part B of the program, which covers physician and other outpatient services, has been especially dramatic. The program’s chief actuary sees spending growth declining to the lowest levels ever.
One possible factor is that the Federal Government under Obama is cracking down on Medicare fraud.

Seven Charged in Health Care Fraud

Quote:
The federal authorities in Dallas arrested a Texas doctor and six others Tuesday in a home health care scheme that the authorities said cheated the government out of nearly $375 million in Medicare and Medicaid fees. It was so brazen, they said, that it involved registering homeless people for home health care services they never received.

. . .

The case against Dr. Roy and his associates is the most recent of several large investigations by the Department of Justice aimed at cracking down on Medicare fraud. Last year, the owner of a mental health care corporation in Miami was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to billing Medicare for treatments that were not necessary or never provided.

Since 2009, Medicare fraud strike forces — teams that are run by the Department of Justice in nine locations around the country — have charged more than 800 defendants with fraud totaling more than $2.2 billion, according to department officials. The case represents the largest fraud amount orchestrated by a single doctor in the history of the Medicare strike force operations, federal officials said.
But wait! Republicans assured us that Obamacare was going to bust the budget! But Obama is actually doing something about the fraud and waste in the system, and runaway costs are finally coming under control.
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Old 1st March 2012, 03:00 AM   #2
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Another Medicare/Medicaid fraud bust, just off the wires:

A $250 Million Fraud Scheme Finds a Path to Brighton Beach

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The plot involved 10 doctors, 9 separate clinics in New York City and 105 different corporations, all in service of a health care fraud ring that federal authorities say conspired to steal more than a quarter of a billion dollars from insurance companies. And when the details were announced on Wednesday, they cast an unflattering spotlight on how immigrants from the former Soviet Union have often dominated such schemes in the city.

This one, like many others, was rooted in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, the locus of the city’s Russian-speaking immigrant population, many of whom grew up under a Communist system that bred disdain for the rules and a willingness to cheat to get around them.

Brighton Beach has one of the highest rates of health care fraud in the nation, according to federal statistics. In fact, an analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that regulates those two programs, shows that more health care providers in the Brighton Beach ZIP code are currently barred from the programs for malfeasance than in almost any other ZIP code in the United States. (The top spot is in southern Florida, with its high proportion of older residents.)

“This is the Russian mind-set, and this is why it’s endemic in the system,” said one law-enforcement official who has investigated organized-crime groups from the former Soviet Union. “If you’re not scamming the system, if you’re not scamming the government, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing — you’re looked upon as a patsy.”
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Old 1st March 2012, 05:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Another Medicare/Medicaid fraud bust, just off the wires:

A $250 Million Fraud Scheme Finds a Path to Brighton Beach
Actually, they've corrected that article:

Quote:
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: February 29, 2012

An earlier version of this post misstated the focus of the fraud. It was private insurance companies, not Medicare and Medicaid.
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Old 1st March 2012, 06:42 AM   #4
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The NYT says the slowdown is because of the recession, and not any particular policy: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/op...rssnyt&emc=rss

Which makes sense, as even Medicare has co-pays and other costs to patients. If thy can't afford those costs they forgo the service. The Medicare slowdown reflects private health costs slowdown over the same period.
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Old 1st March 2012, 07:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
The NYT says the slowdown is because of the recession, and not any particular policy: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/op...rssnyt&emc=rss

Which makes sense, as even Medicare has co-pays and other costs to patients. If thy can't afford those costs they forgo the service. The Medicare slowdown reflects private health costs slowdown over the same period.
The editorial is about all healthcare spending including by the private sector, not specifically Medicare and Medicaid. The recession could be a factor in the latter, but since most people on Medicare are retired and have Medigap insurance to cover co-payments, it would seem to be less sensitive to a downturn in the economy than private healthcare spending, or at least not more sensitive. According to Peter Orszag, the deceleration in healthcare spending has been greater for Medicare than in the private sector:

Quote:
over the past few years, Medicare spending has decelerated more than commercial health-care spending has.
. . .
it has been hard to see why Medicare spending growth should fall more in response to an economic decline than other types of health spending would, when most Medicare beneficiaries have Medigap insurance that covers co-payments, and a larger share of their income (through Social Security) is protected from economic fluctuations.
So, I don't think you can attribute most of the decline in Medicare spending growth to the recession.
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Old 1st March 2012, 07:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Actually, they've corrected that article:
I see. Well, it's important to bust those people too because they drive up insurance premiums for everyone that has to rely on private insurance.
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Old 1st March 2012, 08:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
The editorial is about all healthcare spending including by the private sector, not specifically Medicare and Medicaid. The recession could be a factor in the latter, but since most people on Medicare are retired and have Medigap insurance to cover co-payments, it would seem to be less sensitive to a downturn in the economy than private healthcare spending, or at least not more sensitive. According to Peter Orszag, the deceleration in healthcare spending has been greater for Medicare than in the private sector:



So, I don't think you can attribute most of the decline in Medicare spending growth to the recession.
Sorry, giving Obama credit is not an option. There must be another reason.
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Old 1st March 2012, 08:35 AM   #8
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I'm sure the RNC will put out a pundit prep memo outlining how expensive medications still are and somehow insinuate that Obama is at fault.
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Old 8th May 2012, 06:52 PM   #9
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There was another big bust this week:

Medicare Fraud Strike Force Charges 107 Individuals for Approximately $452 Million in False Billing

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Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities has resulted in charges against 107 individuals, including doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $452 million in false billing.
. . .
HHS also suspended or took other administrative action against 52 providers following a data-driven analysis and credible allegations of fraud. The new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, significantly increased HHS’s ability to suspend payments until an investigation is complete.
The Affordable Care Act is already paying off by helping to crack down on fraud of this kind.
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Old 9th May 2012, 05:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
I'm sure the RNC will put out a pundit prep memo outlining how expensive medications still are and somehow insinuate that Obama is at fault.
Now about "the medicare fraud strike force was started by Bush, now Obama is taking the credit"? But i did not look it up.. I just though that if results started in 2009, that was too soon for a program started under BO's reign.
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Old 9th May 2012, 05:19 AM   #11
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Perhaps preventive care is starting to show lower long term costs ?
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