Health care fraud probe pays off: U.S. recovers billions

The $4.2 billion recovery marks the highest three-year average in history

The Obama administration should be proud of itself. This week, it announced that through its efforts to combat fraud within Medicare and Medicaid programs, it recovered a record $4.2 billion in 2012 from fraudsters and cheaters.

According to a report released yesterday by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, for each dollar the administration spent on fighting fraud in the health care programs, it brought in $7.90. This is the highest three-year average return on investment in the 16-year history of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Program, according to yesterday’s announcement.

“This was a record-breaking year for the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services in our collaborative effort to crack down on health care fraud and protect valuable taxpayer dollars,” Holder said. “In the past fiscal year, our relentless pursuit of health care fraud resulted in the disruption of an array of sophisticated fraud schemes and the recovery of more taxpayer dollars than ever before. This report demonstrates our serious commitment to prosecuting health care fraud and safeguarding our world-class health care programs from abuse.”

The administration stepped up its investigation efforts into Medicare and Medicaid fraud in 2009. Since then, the administration has recovered nearly $15 billion of taxpayer money from fraudsters. That’s more than double the $6.7 billion brought in during the previous four years.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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