'Privatized' Medicare Dupes Elderly: Audits

Providers accused of cutting coverage, ignoring complaints
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2007 8:18 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Dems are likely loading political ammo after audits show that Medicare providers have cut thousands from coverage and snubbed those who complain. What's more, HIV/AIDS patients have been booted, standards flouted and phones left ringing. Dems have long opposed efforts to "privatize Medicare," but feds say the changes improve choice and slash prices, the New York Times reports.

One official accepts the audits, saying, "The start-up period is over. I am simply not going to tolerate marketing abuses.” Another claims that Medicare has taken "vigorous action" to halt abuses. Yet lawmakers stand by the probes: One says he has “verified countless stories of deceptive sales practices by insurance agents who prey upon the elderly."