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National Coalition Urges Congress to Look for Savings in Program Integrity Reforms Over Beneficiary Cost-Sharing

By Fight Fraud First Press Release via PR Newswire (5/21/13)

  MAY 22, 2013 --

A national coalition of organizations representing older Americans, persons with disabilities, military veterans and healthcare providers who advocate for the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare – today called on Congress to implement program integrity reforms in Medicare instead of re-imposing or expanding beneficiary cost-sharing requirements as a means to produce federal savings.

FFF! is founded on the belief that strengthening the Medicare program to prevent waste, fraud and abuse is a more prudent approach to generating sustainability and reducing federal spending within the Medicare program. At a hearing today of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, lawmakers will examine proposals for implementing increased cost-sharing on Medicare beneficiaries, including the President's Fiscal Year 2014 budget, which would impose higher out-of-pocket costs on already vulnerable seniors.

While the coalition recognizes the need to achieve savings in Medicare, adding increased cost-sharing on seniors is not a sustainable approach to curbing spending. For example, the President's budget estimates that re-imposing a copayment on homebound senior citizens who receive Medicare home health and are more likely to have low incomes would reduce Medicare spending by just $700 million over 10 years. During the same period, however, tens of billions of dollars could be saved by instituting common-sense program integrity reforms that target the isolated instances of fraud and abuse – all without harming often vulnerable beneficiaries.

"There is considerable evidence that significant savings can be achieved by enacting reforms that combat fraud and abuse," said Chairman Billy Tauzin. "As a result, the Fight Fraud First!Coalition urges lawmakers to advance program integrity reforms that target fraud and abuse while protecting senior citizens, compliant providers, and taxpayers."

While the federal government has advanced successful anti-fraud initiatives and recovered fraudulent payments, more must be done before lawmakers consider burdening Medicare beneficiaries with more out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare policies that threaten beneficiary access, increase out-of-pocket costs, and unfairly impact seniors are the wrong approach to reducing federal spending.  Therefore, the Fight Fraud First! Coalition urges lawmakers to achieve savings by implementing targeted program integrity solutions that achieve savings by preventing Medicare waste, fraud, and abuse.

Fight Fraud First! is a collaborative effort on behalf of seniors, persons with disabilities, military veterans, and family members to advocate for the elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. We believe that the smartest and easiest place to start is taking on bad actors within these programs. To learn more, visit act.americansagainstfraud.org. Members of FFF! include American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, AARP, Caregiver Action Network, Easter Seals, Health HIV, Men's Health Network, National Association for Uniformed Services, The National Grange, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Minority Quality Forum, Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, RetireSafe, Veterans Health Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Women Against Prostate Cancer.

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