That’s No Fire, Just a Vacant Lot by Pat Conrad MD


7/13/15: Pres. Obama said in his press conference that Medicare is not in “crisis.”

From U.S. News & World Report: “As Medicare enrollment numbers have climbed, the costs have as well. In 1967, the program’s first full year of operations, Medicare spending was $4.6 billion; in 2014, it reached nearly $600 billion, or 14 percent of the federal budget.”

Did you think our race to become a national mausoleum would be efficient? “Nearly $60 billion in Medicare funds distributed in 2014 that were meant to reimburse doctors for the care they gave older Americans were doled out to practices with dubious addresses or delivered to medical providers who had been given disciplinary actions … [these] findings were concerning to members of Congress because they showed an increase in improper payments of more than $10 billion – or 20 percent – from 2013, despite reforms put in place beginning five years ago as a result of President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act.” Check my math, but is that an error rate of 10%? Some of the erroneous payments were sent to addresses which are actually vacant lots, or burger joints.

About 15 years ago, before the Bush-Obama arsonists threw gas on the Medicare budget bonfire, I was in a new fledgling family practice clinic. One day I got a check from Medicare for a modest sum, on behalf of a patient I had never seen, for work that I did not do, in a practice location I had not visited in almost 2 years. I couldn’t shred that sucker fast enough.

CMS is a bad entity with a benevolent title. The “disciplinary actions” referenced above might include actual fraud, but they might also include some poor internist who got a dash-025-who-gives-a-damn modifier wrong. Reports like this that highlight bad results will only result in more pressure on the hapless medical community. Big government invites fraud the way a porch light attracts mosquitoes, and that is not going to change. Trying to reform this Medicare will never be curative, but only palliative at best. Doctors sold out their profession a half-century ago, and are now as hooked on the junk as entitled seniors and their elected representatives who will gladly destroy the nation before considering any real reform of this awful program.

72210cookie-checkThat’s No Fire, Just a Vacant Lot by Pat Conrad MD