Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding Medicaid Reform Legislation

"I am disappointed that, with only a short time left in the session, the State Legislature still has not done anything to crack down on Medicaid fraud.

The Legislature should pass the Martin Act for Health Care (A.10104), which will give my office the same tools to stop fraud in the Medicaid program that I have used to stop fraud on Wall Street.

In addition, the Legislature should enact the New York State False Claims Act (A.8107/S.3895), which is modeled on the very successful federal False Claims Act and provides an incentive for individuals to disclose fraudulent practices.

Instead of passing these essential measures, the Legislature is focusing on bills that will have little or no impact on the problem. In particular, the Senate passed a flawed bill in March, recently amended it to make it even weaker, and is now poised to pass this revised version (S.6872-B). The Senate bill primarily codifies the already-existing Medicaid Inspector General’s Office, does not contain the False Claims Act provisions, and does not provide prosecutors with additional Martin Act powers to investigate and prosecute health care fraud. In addition, the new Health Care Fraud crimes contain gaping loopholes that will allow those engaged in fraud to escape any criminal sanctions.

It is time for the Legislature to get serious about Medicaid fraud, and to enact the Martin Act for Health Care and the False Claims Act. Their failure to do so would be inexcusable."