The South Florida Sun-Sentinel
reports that leaders in Washington are studying South Florida and its highest-in-the-nation rate of Medicare fraud for "lessons on how to stem Medicare fraud to help pay for a health care overhaul." Democrats are counting on enforcing anti-fraud laws to help pay for health care reform while Republicans "say the hemorrhaging of taxpayer dollars in places like Miami shows the government cannot be trusted to run health care plans." But the South Florida Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which launched in 2007, seeks to cut out the fraud — which often involves billing for home health care services — in such places. "Since 2007, the strike force has obtained indictments against more than 300 people who billed Medicare for more than $700 million. Charges led to more than 150 guilty pleas, 20 trial convictions and collection of more than $275 million in restitution." The Obama administration has asked for $311 million in 2010 to combat fraud in the system (Gibson, 11/29).
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