Medicare Abusers Need Online Drug Class

by: Mike Miller

While seniors may not be the most computer-literate generation, more and more are coming of age to where they are comfortable with the internet of the computer and the Internet. Seniors are abusing prescription drugs and it is costing Americans plenty. A good online drug class may be the answer.

How Bad is the Problem?

Prescription drug abuse by elderly and disabled beneficiaries of Medicare cost the U.S. program nearly $150 million in 2008, highlighting an area where the government can seek to save health costs.

According to a government report some of these patients went to at least five doctors to get multiple prescriptions of drugs that are often abused.

In all, 170,000 people enrolled in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program went "doctor shopping" for drugs such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, powerful painkillers that can lead to addiction, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Those 170,000 who possibly abused the system were 1.8 percent of the patients who had prescriptions for these commonly abused drugs.

The study began in 2010, using data from 2008, the latest year then available. Medicare enrolled about 43 million people in 2008.

In one example, one individual received prescriptions from 87 different doctors during that year. Senator Scott Brown, a Republican from Massachusetts, dubbed it "taxpayer-funded drug dealing" at a hearing about the issue on Tuesday.

Brown said oxycodone could sell for over $5,000 in some areas of the country.

"Medicare Part D beneficiaries are abusing powerful drugs to fill their own addictions or to sell them on the street," said Delaware Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat and chairman of a subcommittee on federal financial management. "The controls ... put in place haven't

Fighting Medicare fraud has gained renewed urgency in recent months as a committee of Republicans and Democrats seeks ways to cut the nation's ballooning budget deficit ahead of a November deadline.

Everyone always has an angle to screw the government out of taxpayer money. We're just doing things so inefficiently, it's mind-boggling.