By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Friday, Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn announced that Rep. Jim McClendon (R) from Springville would be sponsoring the Medicaid Fraud Reduction Act, House Bill 110.
Rep. McClendon said in a written statement, “Taxpayers need to know that the money they contribute to programs like Medicaid isn’t being wasted and abused, and any coffee shop poll you take will justifiably show that public confidence just isn’t there. “It’s time we got tough on Medicaid fraud, root out those who take part in it, and punish every one of them to the fullest extent of the law, and this bill puts us firmly on that course.”
Speaker Hubbard’s written statement said that since no greater insult can be committed against taxpayers than cheating a program designed to give a helping hand to our country’s most vulnerable citizens. The Medicaid Fraud Reduction Act creates new, statutory, abuse-fighting safeguards in Alabama and expands the Attorney General’s ability to combat exploitation
The bills is part of the “We Dare Defend Our Rights” Agenda being advanced by the House Republican Caucus.
Speaker Hubbard said in a written statement that McClendon and the other sponsors of the House GOP “We Dare Defend Our Rights” Agenda were chosen because of both their skills as legislators and their commitment to preserving the conservative beliefs and freedoms that are being attacked by ObamaCare.
Rep. McClendon told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that the Republican Caucus is going to get a fast start on this session with committee hearings beginning on Tuesday on the ‘Dare to Defend Our Rights’ agenda. McClendon also said that the House was going to get an early start on the budgets this year with hearings through February.
The bill would give Medicaid investigators access to the Department of Public Health’s Controlled Substances Prescription Database. This change would improve the ability of the Alabama Medicaid Agency to investigate possible Medicaid fraud, abuse, and misuse by both Medicaid recipients and providers. It also makes it a crime to make a false statement with intent to deceive the Medicaid Agency and would make it unlawful file a false claim or to fail to disclose a material fact or a change in circumstances. Any Medicaid service provider that violates the Medicaid Fraud Statute would be excluded from participating in any Alabama Medicaid Agency for a period of three years.
The bill also requires that the Medicaid Agency create an error-prone or fraud-prone case profile and then screen each application for Medicaid against the profile to better identify cases with a potential for error or fraud. The bill would also double the statute of limitations for Medicaid fraud to six years.
The bill would also redefines the word “person” in the Medicaid Fraud Statute to include not only individuals but also corporations, partnerships, or associations.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder estimates that Medicare and Medicaid fraud costs American taxpayers $60 to $90 billion a year.