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Hundreds Charged in Huge Opioid and Health Care Fraud Crackdown

In the largest crackdown on medical fraud in U.S. history, 412 people were simultaneously charged with defrauding government Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE programs by false billing and providing unnecessary services and procedures. Many of the fraudulent claims involved opioid prescriptions which, in some cases, were being given out in exchange for cash bribes. According to New Scientist, just one doctor at a Houston clinic gave out 12,000 opioid prescriptions for over 2 million illegal painkiller doses.

Fraud is rampant in the U.S. health care industry, and this raid by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions not only highlights it, but focuses on a problem that causes fraud: overtreatment that ultimately leads to disability and death. According to a new study, medical errors kill an estimated 250,000 Americans each year, confirming that modern medicine is still the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Equally outrageous — but also highlighted by the raid — is the overprescribing of opioid painkillers, which is contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year. Because doctors are so quick to prescribe these drugs, and because of antiquated U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency laws that criminalize safer, nondrug treatments using medical marijuana, opiates such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone kill more Americans each year than car crashes or gun violence.

While Sessions’ crackdown is designed to stop fraud, it’s heartening that in the end it may also help stop the overprescribing of opiates. If you have chronic pain of any kind, please understand there are many natural, safe and effective alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, including prescription low-dose naltrexone and supplements such as curcumin, astaxanthin, boswellia, bromelain, cayenne cream and ginger. Dietary changes beginning with eliminating sugar, as well as bodywork methods like acupuncture, chiropractic treatments and Emotional Freedom Techniques are also helpful.
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