Congress again delays Medicare payment cuts. Congress agreed Monday to another delay in Medicare payment cuts for doctors, giving a reprieve to a looming healthcare crisis for the nation’s elderly. The postponement of the 23 percent drop gives the lame-duck congress another month to fix the federally funded health plan that covers 46 million elderly and disabled Americans, according to the Associated Press.
Senate delays Medicare rate cut. The U.S. Senate yesterday unanimously approved a measure to block a scheduled rate cut by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, preserving doctors’ pay and likely forestalling their mass exodus from the federal health insurance program. It’s the 10th time in the last eight years that Congress has acted to block a looming rate cut, and the fourth in this year alone.
Federal agents charged 44 people in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami in what they’re calling the single largest Medicare fraud scheme ever, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
The individuals allegedly set up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states and stole the identities of doctors and thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, intending to submit phony claims.
Older Americans enrolled in privately administered Medicare Advantage plans will see their rates drop slightly, thanks to federal negotiators who shot down contracts for high-cost plans.
Predictions that Medicare Advantage rates would rise did not take into account the new authority delegated to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Affordable Care Act, which begins taking effect this week.
Federal authorities in Texas unsealed indictments against six Houston-area residents, part of ongoing efforts to crack down on false claims for non-existent or unnecessary medical equipment covered by Medicare.
Federal authorities in Los Angeles arrested 20 people, including several members of an Orange County, Calif., street gang, on charges of bilking Medicare through phony billings for power wheelchairs, hospital beds and orthotic devices.
In all, the defendants are accused of fraudulently receiving $26 million from the federal health program.