Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding
The Medicaid fraud bill that the state Senate is considering (S.6872) has some worthwhile provisions, but overall it is weak and does not constitute the sweeping reform that we need.
In order to make further reductions in Medicaid fraud, we need better ways to learn about frauds, and better ways to prosecute them.
My proposed False Claims Act provides an incentive for whistleblowers to report Medicaid fraud to the authorities, and that provision allows New York to retain an additional 10% in Medicaid fraud recoveries based on federal legislation signed in January. That incentive provision is lacking from the Senate bill, which means that we will not learn about fraud from whistleblowers, and will not qualify for the 10% bonus under the new federal law.
Second, I have proposed a "Martin Act for Health Care," which would adopt the same prosecutorial tools to root out health care fraud that I used to attack fraud in the financial industry. In particular, the Martin Act creates tougher health care fraud crimes and enhanced powers to subpoena witnesses and obtain documents.
Although my office leads the nation in Medicaid fraud recoveries, we should always strive to do more. Unless the Senate amends its bill to include a real False Claims Act and the Martin Act provisions, we won't have the kind of sweeping reform that New Yorkers expect and deserve.