Bipartisan group works to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid

Lawmakers in both the Senate and the House introduced legislation on Wednesday to combat and prevent waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.

Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and John Carney (D-Del.), along with Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), are sponsors of the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures Act of 2013. The proposed bill is also known as the PRIME Act.

The PRIME Act was designed to address a set of problems that the coalition said leads to billions of dollars of waste and fraud each year.

“This is the kind of bipartisan, good government solution the American people desperately want from Washington,” Roskam said. “The problem of Medicare fraud is an urgent one – we cannot continue to allow these critical programs to be fleeced because of carelessness or criminals gaming the system. The program’s current pay-and-chase model pays out even suspicious Medicare claims, costing taxpayers billions of dollars.”

Provisions in the PRIME Act include enacting stronger penalties for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, curbing improper or mistaken payments made by Medicare and Medicaid and establishing stronger fraud and waste prevention strategies within Medicare and Medicaid to help phase out the practice of “pay and chase.”

The proposed bill would also implement steps to help states identify and prevent Medicaid overpayments and would improve the sharing of fraud data across state and federal agencies.

“These days, finding areas where Democrats and Republicans can agree isn’t always easy. But cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse is something we can all get behind,” Carney said.