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Post date: March 31 2006

Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding the Budget Agreement

I am extremely disappointed that the final budget adopted by the Legislature does not include any provisions to strengthen the state’s ability to combat Medicaid fraud.

New York spends over $44 billion on Medicaid each year, and although my office has vastly increased the state's recoveries of fraudulent Medicaid payments during the past seven years, we could do even more with better statutory tools.

In particular, I have been urging passage of a False Claims Act, which has proven effective in increasing recoveries in other states and at the federal level. I’ve also proposed a Martin Act for Heath Care, which would allow the Attorney General’s Office to fight health care fraud with the same tools that we used so successfully in fighting fraud on Wall Street.

Together, these two bills will allow us to uncover more frauds, punish those who engage in these schemes, and dramatically increase financial recoveries for the state.

Despite the need for the legislation and obvious benefits of the measures that were proposed, no action was taken. I understand that the Senate, Assembly and Governor's Office are continuing to discuss these issues, and I urge them to reach agreement on a strong Medicaid fraud reform package as soon as possible.