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“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers

8. Medical Fraud Costs The Nation $100 Billion Annually — or More

SOURCE: MOTHER JONES, March/April 1995, “Medscam”; Author L.J. Davis

SYNOPSIS: The United States’ $1 trillion annual health bill is 14 percent of the gross domestic product, making the medical industry the largest business in the land.

Of this sum, a staggering amount is stolen. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, the yearly swag totals between $31-$53 billion; according to the authoritative General Accounting Office, the annual take is $100 billion; according to other investigators the amount is as high as $250 billion. In fact, an extensive Mother Jones investigation discovered no one really knows how much money is stolen from the medical system every year — and, possibly even worse, no one has any way of finding out.

Although Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, no specialized police force was established until 1978, giving the bad guys, according to Bill Whatley Jr., president of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, “a 13-year head start, and we never caught up. The people who put this program together didn’t believe that the [health care providers] in the program would commit fraud, because medicine was such a high calling.”

Unfortunately, such optimism was misplaced; it did not take health care providers long before they developed a series of medscam techniques including the following:

        -Upcoding: a doctor performs one medical procedure and charges the insurer for another (more profitable) one.


      -Unbundling: the whole is sometimes worth less than the sum of its parts. A wheelchair broken down into its components — a wheel here, a seat there — with a separate bill for each, can mean bigger profits.
      -Pharmacy Fraud: a corrupt pharmacist, often abetted by a physician and a patient, dispenses a generic drug rather than a brand-name drug and pockets the difference.
      -Psychiatric Schemes: in the 1980s, the nation experienced an “epidemic” of clinical depression, as hospital chains filled their beds with teenagers, the overweight, and substance abusers.
      -Home Health Care: this includes overbilling, billing for services not rendered, kickbacks, the use of untrained (i.e. inexpensive) personnel, and the delivery of unnecessary equipment.
      -Ghost Patients: there are doctors who continue to treat patients after they’re dead and doctors who work more than 24 hours a day.
      -Social Security is another area rife with fraud, costing billions of dollars. The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs a $1.4 billion program that pays drunks and junkies to remain drunks and junkies. As long as the substance abusers continue to abuse substances, they receive a federal payday every month; if they go straight, the checks stop. In a number of documented instances, the SSA provided the wherewithal that enabled abusers to drink or overdose themselves to death.
  • The irony of all this is that prosecuting medical insurance fraud is one of the government’s few profit centers, returning about $72 for every taxpayer dollar spent; even allowing for the usual bureaucratic exaggeration, the monies recovered are substantial-to say nothing of the money that is saved when a fraudulent practitioner is removed from circulation.

COMMENTS: Investigative author L.J. Davis felt the story was “reported, if at all, anecdotally and poorly, but not systematically. It made the news, for example, when National Medical Enterprises (NME), a centi-million-dollar hospital chain, was raided by the FBI in one of the largest operations in recent history, but no attempt was made to discover if NME was symptomatic of a larger phenomenon — which it was. This is typical, I have found.”

The general public would benefit from wider exposure of the medical fraud story since it would “discover how grossly its tax and insurance money is ripped off,” Davis said. “And, it might occur to the public that if medical fraud were halted, the nation could afford just about any kind of health system it could think of.”

Davis charged that corrupt healthcare providers and medical equipment companies benefit most obviously from the limited coverage given medical fraud. “Of these, easily the greatest beneficiaries are the private, for profit hospital chains, a form of company unknown in this country until the creation of Medicare — and whose obsession with the bottom line has allowed, and often actively encouraged, massive fraud.”

Davis concluded, “After 30 years in the business, the editorial mind remains something of a mystery to me. For example, I brought the story of AIDS fraud and quackery to another magazine, which shall remain nameless. Because of editorial agendas, quackery — a great tragedy — vanished entirely. The story concentrated on home health-care fraud, an important story, but not the whole story. At another magazine, I proposed a story on how the hospital chains are migrating into managed care — and the rich opportunity for a whole new fraud. ‘How do I know you’re right?’, said the editor. In a related event, Joe Sharkey produced a splendid book, Bedlam, on psychiatric fraud. It sank without a trace.”

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