Health Care Systems: Misuse, Abuse & Predatory Fraud Controls

Health care is part of a nation’s critical infrastructure (CI). It is the largest public cash dispensing sector of the United States and Canadian economies. Ten times that of defense. Health care services delivery is an extraordinarily complex system. Within this context, conversation on misuse, abuse and predatory fraud controls must be broken down into smaller ecosystems to make sense of the issues and counter measures.

Definition: Ecosystems are, “living organisms in conjunction with nonliving components of their environment interacting with the system.”  

The United States spends in excess of 17.3% of GDP on health care. It is a complicated vertical system of public and private sector plans, where people falling between the cracks end up uninsured. The result can be physically, emotionally and financially  catastrophic for families. The United States, far and away has the most expensive per capita health care spending in the world. In his book, “A License to steal: How Fraud Bleeds America’s Health Care System”, Harvard University’s Malcolm K. Sparrow dissects the health care delivery system’s defenses from predatory crimes. His recommendations on controls are for most part unheeded across North America.

Canada spends in excess of 10.53 % of GDP on health care benefits and services. Health care spending in Canada is horizontal, with basic care for everyone meeting status and residency requirements. It is topped up by private plans for unregulated services. Increasingly larger portions of provincial funding goes to universal health care, with insidious deregulation of formerly paid publicly services. In Chronic Condition; What Canada’s Health Care System Needs to Be Dragged Into the 21st Century”, Jeffrey Simpson explores the options with a growing problem the Canadian system faces, including cuts to “nonessential” services, tax increases, various types of privatization, and finding savings within health care itself.

The next post in this series concerns inside-the-system financial harms and controls. The third in this series will open up conversation on outside-the-system financial harms and controls.

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