November 19th, 2009
06:19 PM ET
13 years ago

2/3 of recovered funds come from federal health care fraud, Justice Dept. says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="2/3 of recovered funds come from federal health care fraud, Justice Dept. says."]Washington (CNN) - Two of every three dollars federal authorities recovered from frauds against the government come from health care fraud, a top Justice Department official disclosed Thursday.

As the cost of proposed health care programs is front and center for the president and the Senate, Assistant Attorney General Tony West told reporters that $1.6 billion of the $2.4 billion recovered through lawsuits during the past year was the direct result of fraud against federal health care programs.

The $2.4 billion in settlements and court judgments against defendants
accused of fraud is the second largest annual recovery of civil fraud claims in history, West said.

The Justice Department has stepped up enforcement of health care fraud through the use of regional strike forces.

West said of the 1,040 cases currently under investigation, about 600 deal with health care fraud. A much smaller number deal with defense procurement fraud and other claims.

Most health care fraud charges in recent months have focused on people accused of overcharging Medicare for wheelchairs and other medical devices.

Filed under: Health care • Justice Department
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Kate

    and you wonder why we need Health Care Reform.......if you Republicans can't see that.......then none of you deserve to hold any offices in DC.......get my drift.......but then again they are the ones that are for the Big Drug Companies, and buisness in the Health Care field..........not to mention the fact that the Republicans don't care if you and I live or die........or they would get off their High Horses and work with this administration instead of trying to STONEWALL everything this President trys to do.......

    November 19, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    You can bet that private insurance companies run their business much better than that. This is one of many reasons why the federal government needs to stay out of health care insurance. They are inefficient, ineffective and easy targets for fraud. Health care costs will increase significantly with federal government involvement.

    November 19, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Okay for our representatives and Mr. West, I'll try to put it in layman’s terms. If you lose $20 out of your wallet today, then find it in the parking lot tomorrow and put it back in your wallet, you are not $20 richer !

    November 19, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. FL

    It will only get worse if they pass a public option. This is what people don't seem to understand. There is so much corruption, both in the gov't and from people ripping the gov't off. They already take enough of our money in taxes and don't keep track of it well. Why on earth would you want to give the gov't more control?

    November 19, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Peter E

    Compared to what current health provider and insurance corporations are charging us as supposedly 'legitimate' cost (yeah, right) this is small fry.

    November 19, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. Gerry

    Our non-government is going to take $500,000,000,000 out of medicare over the next ten years and it will be made up buy stopping medicare fraud. If the government recovers $1,600,000,000. The only people that can make this add up $1.6 B x 10 years = $500 B will the idiots in congress.

    November 19, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. Limbaugh is a liberal

    And of course, knee-jerk right wingers will use this as 'proof' that government health care is corrupt... when in fact government is the one recovering the dollars from the fraud perpetrated by private health care providers.

    November 19, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. mjm

    They can't even control fraud with 44 million in Medicare.

    Wait until 300 million start abusing the system.

    Are they going to reprocess the wheelchairs?

    And just so you know, overcharged is code for “not medically necessary” in the eyes of Medicare. The patient probably needs the wheelchair, Medicare just doesn’t want to pay the bill.

    Or, the doctor didn't use one of the Medicare approved diagnoses codes. You see, the government gets to decide what illness Medicare patients have. Not the doctor. It's crazy.

    November 19, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    If you think there is frtaud now, just wait until the government controls it. Government is not capable of ANY checks and balances against fraud..... unless they create a bureacracy that will cost more than it will recover.

    November 19, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. annie against biased news

    AND I will sell you the Grand Canyon located in Indiana or the Brooklyn bridge which spans Lake Erie or the Statue of Liberty located in beautiful downtown Burlington, VT. These statements are every bit as truthful as the government rationed no-health care monstrosity! Of course, cnn won't publish any protest against this vile evil bill that the demmies are trying to cram down our throats either because they are just plain stupid or they are heck bent on destroying our country.

    November 19, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. They call me "tater salad"

    This program was brought to by.............."Fraud"..........."It's what's for breakfast"........ What a great nation we are.............We should all be soooooooo proud! I mean we certainly have every reason to be, right? At least that's what we always try to tell everyone isn't it? And people still can't figure out why the rest of the world no longer thinks of us as a world leader but more of a punchline?....FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!

    November 19, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Stu- SW Florida

    When these greedy jerks steal from the government they're stealing from us... the taxpayers... the fuel of our government.
    Make them so accountable that their (!) will pucker up whenever they are being investigated for fraud. Make the punishment pay for the investigations and lawyers as well. Then SLAM 'EM HARDER!!!

    November 19, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Greg K., PA

    It looks like the government is doing a good job of combating fraud. Kudos.

    November 19, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. No Hillary = No Obama

    There is alot of fraud in the SSI system as well. Parents bringing in kids who they say have disabilities but giving the wrong age and birthdates; switching siblings; false information – it goes on and on. Then you have the Afghaini's applying for benefits and I would say 99.9% of those case are fraud. They you have the malingerer's who try and fake the exams or pretend they have a disability. They you have the "rings" with coaches and a group of people who share the disability payout. Then you have the gypsies who go all over the state feigning serious mental illness. That's your tax dollars the government can't protect.

    November 19, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    And the morons in Congress want to make another trillion bucks available to steal...

    Only fair, I guess–first the government steals from we the taxpayers, then the more enterprising thieves steal from the government. This is called "redistributing the wealth"–Obama is probably all in favor of it.

    November 19, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. Peter s

    I thought fraud is rampant in developing economies! if its here then there is no Nation immune to fraud. Get the fraudster try them set an example with harsh penalties

    November 19, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. garer

    If fraud is so prevalent in medicare. If medicare and social security are soon to be insolvent. If the government can't balance the budget, or get us adequate H1N1 vaccine supply, can't do katrina, have faulty intelligence, can't even figure out accurately how many jobs the stimulus have saved.....WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT THE GOVERNMENT COULD POSSIBLY RUN HEALTHCARE EVEN A SINGLE PUBLIC OPTION INSURANCE PROGRAM.

    November 19, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    That is why we should trim wastes and frauds in Medicare and Medicaid. When hospitals and doctors give more unnecessary treatments to helpless seniors, they make more money, but sometimes it hurts these over-treated seniors.

    GOP needs to stop lying about Medicare. When Medicare is managed more effectively, we will have more healthy seniors, too. This is not cutting benefits. This is trimming wastes and frauds in Medicare. It can save lives, too.

    November 19, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Now this is the type of "change" we were talking about!

    Great job to the Justice department!

    November 19, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. Jacque Bauer

    Based on such stellar stewardship by our government of OUR money spent on existing healthcare programs, we should gladly allow our corrupt government to take over ALL of the healthcare system as well as Insurance system. You just THINK you have seen some waste and fraud – we're now talking TREEEELLION$...!!

    Obama must go...quickly!

    November 19, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. Get Smart

    There you go but the worst and sad part now, is that OBAMA is trying to recoup the funds again from the tax paying elderly.

    November 19, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. S.B.

    Sounds like a step in the right direction. I'm in favor of allocating more money to the Justice Dept. for going after all of these cases of fraud. It seems to be a huge problem. Some people seem to have the attitude that because it's the Federal government, it's okay to take all the money they can get!

    November 19, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. No Obozocare !

    With rampant incompetence, fraud and waste in government health care already, can't you just wait for Obozocare ?

    November 19, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. Stu

    Any pool of "free money" is going to be loaded with fraud and overcharging. If you really want to drive healthcare costs down, end punitive lawsuits and end all health insurance. IF you have to pay cash for healthcare, providers will be forced to charge far less and become more financially efficient. If you want healthcare costs to skyrocket, enact an all-encompassing government healthcare insurance plan paid for by the tax payers.

    November 19, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    keep up the good work catching bad people. and maybe you can police the new health care with a public option like , medicare and social security great programs that fund themselves . and if government would pay back social security .it would last forever. proving a public plan will also be self funding if it is managed correctly.. lets hope so and watch the insurance companies switch and find something else to ripe off ... time will show all

    gary davis
    harbor oregon
    proud of our president

    November 19, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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