Ninety-one people including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were charged criminally after an investigation of Medicare fraud that involved $430 million in false billing in seven cities, officials said on Thursday.It was the government’s second big raid in recent months after a similar investigation in May involving $452 million in possible fraud in Medicare, the health program for the elderly and disabled.The accusations include billing the government for unnecessary ambulance rides in California, writing prescriptions for patients in Dallas who did not qualify for them and paying kickbacks like food and cigarettes to patients in Houston if they attended programs for which a hospital could bill.The investigation is part of an effort by the Obama administration to find health care savings.
Arrests were made in Houston, Dallas, Brooklyn, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. The largest crackdown occurred in South Florida where 33 people were rounded up and charged in connection with health care fraud cases totaling more than $230 million. In Texas, the president of Riverside General Hospital in Houston and his son were also charged.Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius added that new provisions in President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act made it more difficult for fraud to be committed.This fraud sweep is the latest in a series of raids conducted since 2007 by the strike force. Over the past five years 1,480 suspects have been arrested in Medicare fraud cases totaling $4.8 billion dollars.
Romney went way, way out of his way to go after PBS in his debate. Yet, as uber-liberal rag Forbes Magazine notes:
For fiscal year 2010, federal funding for PBS through CPB accounted for about 12% of PBS’ revenue. In terms of dollars, that works out to about $300 million. There’s not much wiggle room to be had: the money that actually goes to CPB is split according to a mostly statutory formula. For 2015, Congress has budgeted $445 million for CPB. That’s less than 1% of the budget. Way less. It’s about 1/100th of a 1%.I’m not disparaging cutting waste: cutting waste is good. But with a deficit as large as the current one, if you’re going to focus on cuts, we should focus on real cuts. By the numbers, cutting funding for PBS won’t save the budget. Not by a long shot.
If the goal is for voters to get lost in sophistry and talking points spin, then Team Romney has done well. But when it comes to producing ACTUAL results, the $4.8 billion in fraud the Obama administration has cracked down on is FAR more impressive than the fear-mongering that Romney is doing over borrowing "money from China " in order to keep PBS going.