"They should die and decrease the surplus population."
Ever since the right-wing began to insist that medical care was a business, and one that could make a HUGE profit if liberal busybodies would just stop talking foolishly about hyping "non-profit" insurance plans, HMO's - as we all know - have moved from patient-care centers to profit-care centers. Except that with insurance companies dumping millions of people for "pre-existing conditions", raising their rates so high that over 40 million of us have no insurance at all, and employers dumping insurance coverage as a bennie for millions more, the hospitals owned by investors who expected to make tons of easy money have instead had difficulty keeping their doors open.
In LA, land of the conscienceless scam (Hollywood thrives on them), three hospitals appear to have been caught doping out a solution to the medical profit problem.
On a Sunday afternoon two years ago, five homeless people being dropped off on Los Angeles' skid row by an ambulance caught the attention of police officers.
The officers videotaped what they thought was a case of hospitals dumping patients in a section of the city where few would notice or care.
But as investigators began to unravel the incident, they say they found something far different: a massive scheme to defraud taxpayer-funded healthcare programs of millions of dollars by recruiting homeless patients for unnecessary medical services.
The elaborate enterprise churned thousands of indigents through hospitals over the last four years and billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for costly and unjustified medical procedures, federal, state and local investigators said Wednesday.
It's hard not to relate the topsy-turvy, Bizarro reverse-reality of a hospital using and abusing indigent patients to make a $ rather than helping them - the opposite of what we used to know was their role, what they used to see as their role before conservative greed spread even to caregivers, directly to the leadership of the Bush/Cheney ideologues and the neoconservative mantra we've been hearing for so long: "Poor=Lazy, Poor=Worthless".
There was apparently little or no concern for the welfare of the people they were using to make all those $$$. All that mattered was what they could bill (bilk) the govt out of.
Some of the homeless patients involved received tests or treatments that were potentially harmful, authorities said.
The "depravity" of the alleged scheme startled authorities, said Salvador Hernandez, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office.
"The defendants are accused of preying on the homeless and exploiting their desperate conditions for personal gain," he said.
Well, why not? Isn't that what we're here for? According to the conservatives who have large, loud voices on every version of our media we are. Certainly we serve no other purpose and as it is liberals use us as an excuse to pick the pockets of the rich. Ask Sean Hannity. Ask Glenn Beck. Ask Loofa O'Reilly. Ask Limbo the Human Blimp. In the Bush Era, human life is cheap if it isn't attached to a house on Marco Island and a Mercedes Benz. As little as a pack of cigarettes.
The privately owned medical centers allegedly worked with patient recruiting operations on skid row that plucked homeless people from the streets and delivered them, with fake medical diagnoses, to the hospitals.
According to court filings, "runners" or "stringers" on skid row looked for homeless recruits. Prospects were offered small sums of money, typically $20 or $30, to be paid upon completion of a hospital stay of one to three days. The street recruiter typically received $40 for each homeless recruit with Medicare eligibility and $20 for each recruit with Medi-Cal benefits, according to the city attorney's lawsuit.
Some solicitations were direct, but others were coded, according to the city attorney's lawsuit. One alleged street pitch referred to the color scheme of the Medi-Cal eligibility card: "Red, white and blue, just make it do what it do, for me and you."
A person familiar with the workings of the alleged scheme told The Times last year that employees at the Assessment Center would recruit people on skid row to reach out to potential patients, who may or may not have needed medical treatment. The source, who spoke on the condition that he not be named, said some patients were reimbursed for their time with money, food or a pack of cigarettes -- what was called an "incentive."
The bottom of the barrel is at the top of the class in BushWorld.
There's more of this but you'll have to read it yourself. I don't have the stomach for it any more.