According to Bloomberg, after federal defense spending and social security, medicare is number three in terms of government spending programs. And, some doctors might be taking advantage of the system more than we may have thought. The highest paid doctor in 2013 was Dr. Asad Qamar, Cardiologist, who made about $15.9 million off of medicare payments that he billed for and received for alleged unnecessary testing and procedures. Although Dr. Qamar is now under legal scrutiny, these facts only bring to light the need for some oversight over a government program like Medicare. On average, in 2013, a physician was reimbursed about $74,000 through medicare, while at least 3,900 physicians received at least $1 million.
To give an estimate of how much medicare costs the country each year, according to Bloomberg, in 2013 the U.S. spent about $586 billion, which accounts for approximately 20 percent of the country’s health care spending overall.
In a time where health care costs are only rising, it is now more important than ever to crack down on potential abusers of the system. It is important for doctors to be aware that fraudulent acts by other doctors are occurring, because ultimately it only leaves less money for everyone acting honorably.
However, it is important that the government is also careful not to alienate doctors who are simply acting in the best interest of their patient, but to instead effectively prevent further abuse caused by doctors like Dr. Qamar.
Summary by David Eisenberg
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David Eisenberg is currently a medical student at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, and a contributor to Medical Groups. David believes that it is critically important for physicians to not only be well rounded clinically, but also financially. In an ever changing healthcare system, David hopes to help physicians not only understand how to successfully navigate the dynamic healthcare landscape, but also how to take a leadership role in continuing to develop the medical profession that so many have diligently dedicated their life’s work to. In addition to contributing to Medical Groups, David works with thedoctorschannel.com, as well as helps to run an app for pre-med students that he co-founded, PreMD Tracker.
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