A reported $60 billion is lost annually to waste, abuse and fraud within the Medicare system. Illinois Republicans Mark Kirk and Bob Dold are fighting the change by proposing legislation that would combat Medicare identity theft
The Medicare Common Access Card Act of 2011 would create a pilot program to develop a secure Medicare smart card that would protect the personal information of seniors. The card would also quicken the payment process to doctors and hospitals. Currently, Medicare cards feature a person's name and Social Security number, which, according to Oregon Representative Ron Wyden, is "simply asking for trouble." The Act would establish a two-phase system for developing smart cards for seniors based on the approximately 20 million similar Common Access Cards issued by the Department of Defense. Both Medicare patients and healthcare providers would be able to use the card at the point of access to verify identity
and make billing transactions. The pilot would be funded by the Medicare Improvement Fund, established by the Department of Health & Human Services. KGO-TV reports that 10 members of an OxyContin ring were recently arrested in Los Angeles. As part of the scheme, physicians wrote unnecessary painkiller prescriptions for Medicare patients with stolen identities.