Screwing the sick ...
If anyone knows if it's possible to stoop lower than those who screw the sick, I'd be interested in being informed.
Because, try as I may, I can't come up with many things that can match the miserable meanness of spirit that's apparently being practiced by some so-called health professionals around New York.
For it seems to me, the scandal soon set to surface there, regarding the milking of Medicaid, is about as awful an abuse of already disadvantaged people's hopes of help, as I've ever heard of.
In today's UK Independent newspaper, David Usbourne describes the depths to which one diabolical, New York dentist has descended.
Here's the headline.
Dentist theft case reveals huge Medicaid fraudDolly Rosen is her name, and bare faced fraud seems to be her game.
Usborne in New York
Published: 19 July 2005
A New York dentist, whose exorbitant claims on the state's Medicaid programme suggested that she treated more than 100 patients an hour, faces prosecution in what looks set to become a major political scandal.
It is alleged that 80 per cent of the time, the procedures Dr Rosen said she performed never happened ....And Dr Rosen seems far from being just one bad apple in the barrel. Apparently, healthcare professionals like this bum, absolutely abound.
There are the executives of retirement homes accused of accumulating extravagant salaries from Medicaid while skimping on nursing staff.
Then there are the doctors routinely ordering costly ambulette vans for patients deemed unable to take public transport when many are perfectly capable.
And there are the specialists prescribing steroids designed to bulk up Aids patients that are sold on the black market to body builders.
Surprised? Shocked? Sickened? Speechless? You should be. Look at this.
.... the schools official in Buffalo who attracted Medicaid dollars to her school district by dispatching 4,443 students into speech therapy programmes in a single day.
Between them, the New York Times and James Mehmet, a former chief investigator of Medicaid fraud, have certainly come up with some seriously startling statistics.
Okay .... as one might reasonably and realistically expect, there are some cunning and conniving claimants as well as crooked 'claimees' -- but they're estimated to account for only 10% of the fat-rat pack regularly raking it in.
"So we're talking about 40 per cent of all claims being questionable, " Mr Mehmet said. Under that scenario, taxpayers are being defrauded by as much as $18bn (£10bn) a year.
Hmm. While I can't honestly argue with that -- I will add this -- it's the sick who are being especially severely shat upon. It's actually money that's specifically been set aside for them, that's being stolen.
When all the damning dirty details of these scams eventually come out in the wash, I wonder if any genuine justice will be done? Equally, importantly -- will it actually be seen to be done?
Here's the Independent's whole health-horror piece. I hope it doesn't make you too sick.