When it comes to schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid, there seems to be no limit to the ingenuity and tenacity of would-be scammers.
Still, a Texas doctor and six co-conspirators indicted for an alleged long-running home health care scheme look to have set a new record for a one practice: at least $350 million in fraudulent Medicare bills and $24 million under Medicaid over nearly six years ending in late 2011.
Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.
The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.
When it came to health, what was most surprising was how little President Obama had to say in his State of the Union address. His landmark 2010 health overhaul — whose fate is currently before the Supreme Court and whose repeal is the top priority for every GOP presidential candidate — got barely a passing mention.