The prospects for including strong anti-fraud provisions in health reform died early Sunday morning when Sen. Harry Reid released the final amendments to the bill.
Several proposed amendments were considered, including one by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) we liked a lot. New anti-fraud provisions that did make into the final bill include a package by Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) that contains tougher criminal sentencing, tighter fraud definitions and expansion of the federal false claims act. All are worthy provisions, but they aren’t the game changers needed to turn the corner on fraud.
This is truly a missed opportunity by Congress to save taxpayers and insurance consumers a bundle of money. Adding some 30 million people to insurance rolls will enhance the opportunities to defraud, especially by organized rings. At some point down the road, Congress will recognize the fraud savings they had envisioned to pay for health care isn’t happening, and they will need to address it with much stronger anti-fraud remedies.
Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.