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Democrats Block Roskam's Medicare Fraud Prevention Amendment

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Democrats Block Roskam's Medicare Fraud Prevention Amendment

The Ways and Means Committee tonight failed to pass an amendment offered by Congressman Peter Roskam that would have substantially combated waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the proposed government-run health plan. The amendment would have required creating a system of real-time data review, like the credit card industry employs, to prevent fraud and abuse at the point of sale, before money is paid out.

"This common-sense amendment would've meaningfully reformed Medicare and Medicaid's rampant waste, fraud and abuse - which is necessary to reform healthcare and save the hardworking American taxpayer precious money," said Congressman Peter Roskam. "It's extremely disappointing, though not altogether surprising, that Democrats have blocked another common-sense, taxpayer-protecting measure to reform healthcare. Under the Democrats' plan, without this amendment, Medicare defrauders will see open field running for new illicit schemes under a vast expansion of government-run healthcare."

Currently, Medicare's pay-first-then-chase system doles out cash for claims without a thorough fraud-check, only seriously investigating potential fraud after the fact. Under this system, many criminals flee the country before the fraud is discovered, taking huge amounts of taxpayer dollars with them. Just weeks ago, Jose Luiz Perez, who allegedly defrauded Medicare for $56 million, fled the United States before law enforcement officials could arrest him. The FBI describes Mr. Perez as an "international traveler," and says that he is among roughly 60 suspects charged with Medicare fraud that have fled the United States over the last five years "after scamming hundreds of millions of dollars."

The Democrats' bill includes higher penalties for those guilty of healthcare fraud, but does not effectively address the broken pay-first-then-chase payment system. Under the Democrat plan, criminals like Jose Luiz Perez are able to steal money just as easily and safely, only with greater opportunities in a new government run health plan.

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