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Fraud is a small part of health reform

The costs of an overhaul to health care

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Today the Senate Judiciary Committee shines a light on the issue of heath-care fraud. Fraud is one of the biggest money-wasters in our medical system. But it's been a relatively small part of the debate, as Marketplace's Joel Rose tells us.


Joel Rose: Health-care fraud accounts for as much as $175 billion a year, according to a study released this week by Thomson Reuters. That's a lot of potential savings -- if you can find the fraud.

Louis Saccoccio at the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association says that's not always easy to do.

Louis Saccoccio: You have about 4 billion claims being filed every year. Plus you have the entire range of health-care problems: all the diseases, all the injuries, etc. So it becomes a very, very enormous and complex system to really go in and detect the fraud that's there.

Saccoccio says the Justice Department has made some progress lately by focusing on cities with high rates of medical fraud, including Miami and Los Angeles.

The health-care overhaul bills in Congress would give law enforcement some new funds to analyze and fight the problem. But those bills would also expand access to health insurance and care. And Saccoccio points out that would mean more fraud, not less.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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