What's going on wiith the nation's senior citizens? That's a 1423% increase over 2007 and the federal goverment estimates that the ratio of Grandma's and Grandpa's abusing drugs in 2012 was 1:1000.
Might the economic downturn of 2008 and the election and re-election President Obama be the cause of Grandma and Grandpa's drug abuse?
Unlikely. But, the cause is close to the President's heart--federal contol of the nation's healthcare and the unintended problems that government bureaucracies beget through their regulatory powers.
It seems that this rise is attributable in large part to the increase in pain medications that physicians are prescribing for Grandma and Grandpa. The hitch is that Medicare encourages those physicians to perform drug tests to avoid drug abuse or to discover whether Grandma and Grandpa are perhaps selling those medications to other people.
While physicians utilzed basic urine tests in the past to determine whether there might be drug abuse, Medicare became concerned that some physicians were administering tests unnecessarily and billing Medicare for the additional $$$s.
The bureaucratic solution? Medicare set caps on payments for urine tests.
But, that solution overlooked the power of human genius that bureaucratic solutions always seem to set into motion, begetting even bigger problems.
In this instance, since high-tech drug tests have no billing limitations, some physicians began utilizing those tests--which identify the persence of a variety of drugs, including cocaine, heroin, angel dust and ecstasy--and Medicare paid those physicians a separate amount for each drug tested. In 2012, Medicare spent $14M just to test Grandma and Grandpa for angel dust.
The problem unleased by the wizards of smart and their bureaucratic solution is that some physicians actually made more $$$s in 2012 from drug testing than from treating patients.
This is another object lesson in why the federal goverment should not get involved in doing what it cannot do. By their nature, bureaucracies are inefficient and when it comes to good stewardship of taxpayers' $$$s, bureaucracies are also highly ineffective.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Wall Street Journal article, click on the following link:
"Doctors Cash In on Drug Tests for Seniors, and Medicare Pays the Bill."