CCAGW Supports H.R. 3245: Medicare Civil and Criminal Penalties Update Act

August 2, 2017
 

The Honorable Gus Bilirakis

2112 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C.  20515
 

The Honorable Kathy Castor

2052 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C.  20515
 

Dear Rep. Bilirakis and Rep. Castor,

On behalf of the more than 1.2 million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I am writing in support of H.R. 3245, the Medicare Civil and Criminal Penalties Update Act, which would combat fraud against federal healthcare programs by increasing civil and criminal fines and penalties.

CCAGW has been concerned about federal healthcare fraud for a long time, and H.R. 3245 would help alleviate this problem, which has become more prevalent in recent years.  On July 13, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the largest healthcare fraud enforcement action in its history, totaling $1.3 billion in losses.  The DOJ charged 412 individuals, including doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals.  Some of these people schemed to submit claims to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE for treatments that were medically unnecessary and, in many cases, never provided.  Others unlawfully prescribed and distributed opioids and other dangerous narcotics, thus contributing to the opioid epidemic, or they never distributed the drugs to beneficiaries.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that, “[fraudulent medical professionals’] actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start.  The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost, and graveyards.”

H.R. 3245 will increase and update the existing criminal and civil penalties in Medicare (Sections 1128A & 1128B), some of which are 30 years old.  Increasing penalties will give law enforcement more tools to combat and prosecute healthcare fraud. CCAGW supports H.R. 3245 and urges its consideration on the House floor.

 

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz

President, CCAGW

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