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Lawmakers want medicare fraud penalties doubled

Posted On Wed, April 14, 2010

Medicare fraud, while not new, has been steadily rising and lawmakers are ready to make the penalties for partaking in it even steeper.

According to the South Florida Business Journal, two lawmakers from the state have introduced legislation to combat Medicare fraud. The Business Journal reports that 20 percent of Medicare fraud occurs in South Florida and that as a whole it costs Americans $60 billion a year.

Business Week said that the new Medicare fraud legislation would double the penalites - including longer prison sentences - increase screening of healthcare companies that bill the program, and provide law enforcement with new ways to find and prosecute fraud, such as fingerprint scanning. The bill was co-sponsored by Congressman Ron Klein and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Some don't see the extended prison sentences as an answer to the fraud problem. Attorney Kirk Ogrosky, former head of the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal health care practice told Business Week that "the government cannot incarcerate its way out of Medicare fraud, prevention is the answer."

Last year, officials found over $950 million in false Medicare claims, the Business Journal said. ADNFCR-2297-ID-19721994-ADNFCR

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