Statements and Speeches
Committee Statement: "Preventing Health Care Fraud: New Tools and Approaches to Combat Old Challenges"
Mar 02 2011
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Finance Committee hearing, "Preventing Health Care Fraud: New Tools and Approaches to Combat Old Challenges."
A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:
"The Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are responsible for the important work of curbing waste and fraud in both Medicare and Medicaid. When we have estimates of more than $47 billion dollars in overpayments, and potentially tens of billions of dollars in fraud within Medicare and Medicaid, there is a lot of opportunity to improve the way government oversees these vital health care programs.
"Today's testimony shows that the Administration has brought a lot of creativity and diligence to the job, especially in implementing important program integrity provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This work is already seeing some success.
"Of course ensuring the proper use of taxpayer funds is always important, but it is particularly critical today as we face unprecedented levels of federal debt and we look for ways to reduce federal spending. As part of this effort to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars, we need to establish a different kind of culture. We need to establish a culture of thrift. We need to look in every nook and cranny of federal spending – domestic, defense and entitlements, along with tax expenditures – and see if we can't do more with less.
"As a recovering Governor, I understand the serious challenges that come along with running a major program like Medicare or Medicaid. We know our Medicare and Medicaid systems are not perfect, and we must continue to find ways to make them better.
"I'd like to pay a particular compliment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on some new and important controls that they recently implemented that will curb waste and fraud in the Medicare prescription drug program. These new controls are aimed at combating the diversion of Schedule II drugs, which are controlled substances such as painkillers like oxycodone, and other medications such as Ritalin and methadone. These new reforms include ensuring that a physician or other prescriber of medication is correctly authorized to prescribe medications under the Medicare program. There will also be a requirement to ensure that the physician or other prescriber is properly licensed to prescribe the controlled substances, and authorized under the separate Drug Enforcement Agency rules.
"The Obama Administration very much deserves to 'take a bow' for these and other improvements to the Medicare program integrity system. After all, Medicare fraud involving controlled substances not only results in significant financial loss to taxpayers, but also harms our communities when these medications are diverted by criminals or drug addicts.
"I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration on ways to more effectively use taxpayer dollars in Medicare, Medicaid and throughout the federal government."