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Two lawsuits uncover Medicare and Medicaid fraud in Florida

medicare-medicaid-fraud-frese-hansen.jpegThe reason President Obama's Affordable Care Act has been so popular among many people here in the United States is the fact that many people believe that having access to affordable health care is incredibly important. Because many of our readers are nearing retirement age or are perhaps already retired, they know this fact perhaps better than anyone else.

Although affordable health insurance is possible through government programs like Medicaid and Medicare, the integrity of these programs can be marred by cases of fraud that not only leech funds away from those who truly need them but fraud can also increase health care costs as well, further depleting funds.

This is the argument currently being made in two whistleblower lawsuits that have been levied against a Florida cardiologist who is accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid in both 2011 and 2014. According to the lawsuits, the doctor is accused of performing "thousands of unnecessary procedures on the government's dime." Furthermore, the whistleblowers claim that Medicare was billed for "more costly procedures" when in fact less expensive ones were actually performed.

Not only are unnecessary procedures costly to the government but they also put patients' lives at risk as well. Some of the procedures performed, according to the two complaints, are particularly dangerous and put many patients at risk of suffering serious or even fatal complications. It's because of this that the plaintiffs in the cases are seeking millions of dollars in damages.

Although these two cases highlight a potential problem that may make some of our Melbourne readers second guess a decision to seek Medicaid or Medicare coverage, these cases should also highlight the continued drive by some to recoup the damages caused by fraud. In many ways, it's these types of cases that dissuade others from defrauding the system as well, further protecting the funds people like our readers will need long after they have retired.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "U.S. Intervenes in Two Medicare Fraud Lawsuits," Alex Pickett, Jan. 7, 2014

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