Maybe. Or something to fill in the agency’s extra time now that all the “Occupy” sites have been closed down and it’s getting harder and harder to entrap some poor slob in a terrorist plot:
The Scooter Search as reported by The San Antonio Express:
About 150 law enforcement offices — including from the FBI, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control — swarmed The Scooter Store’s offices Wednesday.
Two days ago, books and records were seized from The Scooter Store. Nobody arrested. Operations at The Scooter Store were restored yesterday.
Why no sting? It’s not as if this wouldn’t have been easy pickings for the FBI. Whither Medicare fraud goes, Medicaid fraud is sure to follow:
Last year, it was discovered that The Scooter Store received anywhere from $46.8 million to $87.7 million in Medicare overpayments from 2009 to 2011.
The company determined the overpayments were only $19.5 million. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to accept that amount in repayment. The Scooter Store was given five years to pay it back.
Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.
“The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”
A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.
Why not arrest a few of those individual Medicare beneficiaries that colluded in the fraud? You know, to send a message to all those old white folks that never look in the mirror but freely blabbed (boasted?) to Taibbi that they very much like free stuff from the government even if technically it’s not free stuff but theft:.
“I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”
“OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”
“Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”
I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”
Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!
“Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”
“Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”
“But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”
“Yeah,” he says, “but I don’t make very much.” Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit.
They could find those geezer fraudsters from the records seized from The Scooter Store. Would prefer that they go after the big time crooks on Wall Street, but when has the FBI ever been into catching large fish?