LOS ANGELES, May 22 (Xinhua) -- An increasing number of unethical drug rehab centers in Southern California are taking the advantage of Obamacare and legal loopholes to exploit addicts and bilk insurance companies, according to a recent report by the Orange County Register.
From 2013 to 2016, the licensed rehab centers in Southern California nearly doubled, from 206 to 599 per year. There are also hundreds of unlicensed rehab centers, as anyone can run a rehab center in California with no medical degree or certificate required.
The negligent oversight of the rehab center industry has been considered "as the catastrophe playing out in the open" for addicts, taxpayers and communities, Orange County Register pointed out.
Many many rehab center operators see a great opportunity to make a profit under Obamacare and the exploding volume of addicts. Obamacare requires insurance companies to cover addiction recovery fees, and in California, insurance can be purchased on the day you arrive in the state. Some rehab centers faked documents and made street drugs available to the addicts, so they can start the business over again.
The operators advertise on TV and the Internet, or even pay third-party recruiters to solicit addicts from all over the country to come to Southern California to get clean. If the addicts are not insured, they even provide flight tickets for the them to travel to California and get them insured.
Once the addicts get into the rehab center, endless bills follow, from detox monitoring to psychological counseling, usually the bill runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient.
But once the insurance money is dried up, the patient would be kicked out of the center, something that has become a routine practice in the industry, according to the report.
The problems and issues brought up by addicts and rehab centers have been noticed by related organizations, such as insurance companies, state and federal regulators, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff.
They are investigating and suing some rehab industry players. The legislators of both parties are pushing for new regulations.