The healthcare system has been under immense strain since late 2019 when COVID-19 entered the world. The need to urgently diagnose, treat, and prevent further infections has forced the government to provide valuable funding and relief aid to assist the country to manage this health crisis.
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was developed to provide relief for medical assistance to those in need, other people have taken this opportunity to defraud the whole system, and put more lives in danger in the following ways.
Illegal Medical Supplies
The increase of COVID-19 cases has sparked a worldwide effort to start vaccinating the public with urgency. The issue with the fraud being experienced in the healthcare industry is due to those who source illegal equipment and COVID-19 vaccines without proper authority. People are receiving invalid vaccines that they believe will keep them safe, when in fact they have no effect.
Medical equipment including respirators is repeatedly being found without any designated markings to show that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has regulated those supplies. Online purchases of medical supplies are at an increased risk of buying illegal machines that have no benefit to the public, and many consumers do not know how to identify these illegal supplies.
Government Funding Isn’t Available
At least not for those who need it the most. Greg Pimstone, a lawyer from Manatt Phelps office, explains that these criminals are knowingly taking vital funding from the government simply because “that’s where the money is”. The U.S Attorney General warned against potential scammers taking advantage of the needy and the government’s efforts to roll out safe vaccines, yet the rate of fraud continues to increase.
Based on these illegal practices, those that genuinely need medical and financial assistance are not getting access to that relief aid. Criminals defrauding the healthcare system are contributing to the suffering of consumers by lining their pockets and providing government funding to their friends and families.
Laws and Regulations
Countless U.S officials are hard at work to investigate these crimes; however, it has become extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly which medical aid claims are legit and which are complicit individuals trying to undermine the justice system. The consensus is that those who are eligible to receive relief funding are of the majority of those illegally distributing grants to those not affected by COVID-19.
Although mechanisms are in place and healthcare providers must prove the use of the funds they receive, the terms and conditions have not been well controlled. State regulations on medical care claims haven’t yet adapted to catch all of these criminals in the act, yet arrests are starting to occur for the misappropriation of government funding.
A lack of trust in the healthcare system is starting to become evident, which is not fair on the front-line medical workers that risk their lives to take care of people and combat the spread of the virus. These criminal acts also go against the survival of humanity and should be punished accordingly.