Michael K Williams is as a conman searching for addicts to place in insurance-funded rehabs in this cynical take on healthcare fraud. Director John Swab shares this shocking look at how opportunists exploited a loophole in recovery programs to make fortunes off of people who are suffering.
Brought to Los Angeles for treatment, a recovering junkie soon learns that the rehab center is not about helping people, but a cover for a multi-billion-dollar fraud operation that enlists addicts to recruit other addicts.
In the new film “Body Brokers,” Jack Kilmer is a drug addict who gets caught up in a lucrative and exploitative rehab facility scheme, funneling patients in and out of drug rehab clinics, with taxpayers paying obscenely high bills for it all.
The film opens in Ohio, where Utah (Jack Kilmer) and his girlfriend Opal (Alice Englert) have robbed a convenience store to fund their addiction. They look strung out as if their next overdose, arrest, or bad luck situation could come at any minute. Out of nowhere, a mysterious stranger named Wood (Michael Kenneth Williams) shows up and offers them a trip to a luxury rehab facility in southern California. Opal thinks the offer sounds too good to be true. Utah is more motivated to get clean, so he leaves Opal in Ohio and takes Wood’s invitation to the rehab center. May, played by Jessica Rothe, is the resident intake assistant. While in treatment, Utah gets clean and sober with the help of Dr. White, played by Oscar winning actress Melissa Leo. One of the best performances in the film is by Frank Grillo. Grillo sinks his teeth into the role of Vin, the crooked rehab owner who also serves as the narrator of the drug rehab money schemes. As Utah pees into a cup, Vin (Frank Grillo) says “Each cup pays $2,000, and each client can test up to five times a week. Do the math!”. Vin talks about how he can generate $4,000 per day for every patient in treatment, with the cash flow continuing through residential and outpatient levels of care. Since the recidivism rate is higher than 80%, people keep coming back for more. Wood (Michael Kenneth Williams) mentors Utah and has him infiltrate the L.A. party scene to recruit drug addicts in exchange for kickbacks.
While “Body Brokers” is fiction, the astonishing numbers are reflective of the real-world profits earned by treatment center owners after the Affordable Care Act of 2012 required insurance companies to pay for addiction recovery services, regardless of cost. The film sometimes strays form the main storyline with subplots, and some of the most compelling supporting characters are off-screen for a while leaving you wanting more. However, Jack Kilmer does a great job with the role of Utah, who comes across as decent guy who has lost his way.
You should always be cautious if a proposition sounds too good to be true. Many times, people you don’t know only have their own interests in mind when approaching you about going to a “certain” rehab. If someone tells you they will cover your travel arrangement to go to an out of state rehab, be cautious. Anyone seeking to arrange for addiction treatment out-of-state may be getting paid by the treatment center. In most states, it is illegal for recruiters to accept payment for referring you to an addiction treatment center. If someone is paid a referral fee for recommending a specific treatment center, then they do not have your interests in mind. Always be careful about giving people your personal information. This includes your social security number, insurance number, or any other ID numbers until you have confirmed the person is employed by a medical provider or insurance company. Always call a treatment facility and your insurance company to confirm any arrangements made on your behalf if someone is helping you get into rehab.
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