Today, Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) chaired a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to look at how to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in government health programs including Medicare and Medicaid. Improper payments are a more than $60 billion a year problem and contribute to deficits that are driving Medicare bankrupt.
Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"Our nation's seniors and future retirees are counting on Congress to manage Medicare wisely. Sadly, the program is losing more than $60 billion a year to waste, fraud and abuse.
"Recently there have been great strides made in catching con artists, but they often take in millions of dollars over a period of many years before they are prosecuted. We have to do a better job of stopping fraud before it happens.
"Today, we heard about efforts in the private sector that have borne fruit in preventing fraud. Companies responsible to premium payers and shareholders are far more concerned about losing money than government bureaucrats. Democrats and Republicans agree that we should work together on solutions to this problem and I'm hopeful that today's hearing will contribute to legislative solutions in the next Congress.
"Unfortunately, even eliminating every single dollar of waste and fraud still wouldn't balance Medicare's deficits. We still need to come together and pass structural reforms that keep the program strong for current and future beneficiaries."