Trending News Today: Physician Convicted in Huge Medicare Scam

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

In 2015, United States total spending on prescription drugs climbed 12.2% to nearly $425 billion. Although the growth rate of spending has since slowed from the 14.2% rise in 2014, the growth is still well above the average for the past decade, according to an IMS Health report quoted by the Wall Street Journal. The reason behind the increase is the introduction of new and expensive cancer and infection drugs, as well as the price increases for older drugs.

A new study published in Health Affairs suggested a possible growing appreciation for the Affordable Care Act, according to the The Washington Post. The analysis was based on 2-year-old data that sampled 1200 individuals and showed 45.6% of people were opposed to the law, compared with 36.2% in favor of it. Although the split approval has not changed much over 4 years, once the data was broken down it showed some changes in how people perceived its effects. In fact, an increase of 19% was found in people who said the law is increasing access to medical care and insurance.

On Wednesday, a physician from the Dallas area was convicted of fraud for allegedly “selling his signature” to process nearly $375 million in false Medicare and Medicaid claims, the New York Times reported. Investigators labeled it one of the biggest home health care fraud cases in the history of both programs. After 14 hours of deliberation over 2 days, the federal jury found 59-year-old Jacques Roy, MD, guilty of 8 counts of committing health care fraud, 1 for conspiracy, 2 for making a false statement, and 1 for the obstruction of justice.