H.R. 6130, the Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act, would expand the authority of the Heath and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) to let it ban corporate executives from doing business with Medicare if their companies were convicted of fraud. It also gives the OIG the ability to exclude parent companies that may be committing fraud through shell companies. The OIG’s chief counsel asked members of the House Ways and Means Committee for these changes at a June hearing on Medicare fraud.
“This legislation gives the Office of Inspector General the authority to go after crooked executives and corporations that continue to bilk Medicare,” Stark, chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said in a news release. “Stopping these swindlers will save taxpayer money and protect Medicare beneficiaries. I appreciate the OIG making this request for more authority, and thank my Democratic and Republican colleagues, especially Mr. Herger, for working together to address this issue.”
Herger, the subcommittee’s ranking Republican, called Medicare fraud “a crime against senior citizens, legitimate health care providers, and every American who pays taxes.
“It is imperative for us to remain vigilant to prevent Medicare fraud, and to ensure that those who do commit fraud don’t get a second chance at their crimes,” he said. “With Medicare already on an unsustainable fiscal path, it is inexcusable to allow more and more taxpayer dollars to be defrauded. Law enforcement officials have informed Congress that there are gaps in our current anti-fraud laws, and I am pleased to join Chairman Stark in offering legislation to close the loopholes so that these offenders will pay the price for their crimes.”
Besides Stark and Herger, the bill’s 17 other original cosponsors include six Republicans and 11 Democrats.