CCAGW APPLAUDS HCFA REFORM BILL | Citizens Against Government Waste


Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
March 7, 2001(202) 467-5300


Washington, D.C. - The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste today announced its support for the Medicare Education and Regulatory Fairness Act (H.R. 868/S. 452), introduced by Representatives Pat Toomey and Shelly Berkley and Senators Frank Murkowski and John Kerry.

“This bill provides modest reform of HCFA’s audit practices, allowing physicians to focus more on patient care and less on bureaucratic red tape.  At the same time, the bill retains the essential tools required to enforce anti-fraud statutes regarding Medicare,” said CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz. 

“The overwhelming majority of physicians and healthcare providers are honest and work hard to provide the best care possible to our nation’s seniors.  However, Medicare’s complex structure, numerous and often contradictory regulations and mounds of paperwork are causing many physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients they see and even leave Medicare altogether.  Many physicians are afraid of making a simple mistake, being accused of fraud, and losing their entire medical practice as a result of an audit.  This legislation will go a long way to make sure honest physicians and providers understand their regulatory responsibilities and receive fair treatment, while continuing to weed out those that would defraud the system,” Schatz added.

This bill will provide for modest reform of HCFA’s audit practices, restrain the unfair use of extrapolation in determining filing mistakes, provide for meaningful options for appeals, make sure providers are subject to new regulations only when the Secretary of HHS has promulgated final regulations, delay HCFA from recouping any money until the appeals are heard and it is found the provider actually owes money, and target current education dollars to education of healthcare providers on Medicare’s many complex rules.

Schatz also said, “CCAGW takes a back seat to no one in the fight against waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare program.  Anyone who commits fraud should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  The changes provided in H.R. 868 and S. 452 will allow doctors to practice medicine without being concerned about honest errors ruining their business.

“CCAGW believes Medicare needs to be drastically reformed and modernized.  We support the plan proposed by President Bush that would restructure and make Medicare work like the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan,” Schatz concluded.  “Until then, bills such as Medicare Education and Regulatory Fairness Act, will make the current Medicare regulatory structure more responsive and fair to the dedicated people who take care of our nation’s seniors health needs.”

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.


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