Medicare drug abusers easily feed their addictions or sell painkillers 

click to enlarge Medicare prescription cheaters cost taxpayers an estimated $148 million in 2008. But federal law forbids the prescription program from expelling suspicious beneficiaries. (AP file photo) - MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION CHEATERS COST TAXPAYERS AN ESTIMATED $148 MILLION IN 2008. BUT FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS THE PRESCRIPTION PROGRAM FROM EXPELLING SUSPICIOUS BENEFICIARIES. (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • Medicare prescription cheaters cost taxpayers an estimated $148 million in 2008. But federal law forbids the prescription program from expelling suspicious beneficiaries. (AP file photo)
  • Medicare prescription cheaters cost taxpayers an estimated $148 million in 2008. But federal law forbids the prescription program from expelling suspicious beneficiaries. (AP file photo)

WHAT: A new Government Accountability Office audit found that some 170,000 Medicare recipients obtained prescriptions from multiple doctors for 14 frequently abused medications in 2008.

HOW: One California recipient got prescriptions for a five-year supply of fentanyl — a very strong narcotic used for treating relentless cancer pain — from 21 different physicians.

WHY IT’S OUTRAGEOUS: Medicare prescription cheaters cost taxpayers an estimated $148 million in 2008. But federal law forbids the prescription program from expelling suspicious beneficiaries.

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