An Illinois congressman is taking another stab at reducing Medicare fraud. U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) has introduced a bill to require the government to sniff out fraud in Medicare and Medicaid the same way credit card companies are alerted to suspicious activity. “It’s literally deploying technology that’s already used. This is not blue sky technology. This is not some brand-new, untried thing, but it is technology that is tried and true, and what we’re saying is it is time for the federal government to adopt this same technology,” he said at a news conference at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Credit card companies use software that raises red flags if a card holder attempts to make purchases out of the country without having purchased a plane ticket or a hotel stay there, for example, or if someone tries to buy thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry or electronics in a location far from home. Roskam says such a program could detect prescriptions that don’t match up with a prescribing doctor who has treated that patient, for example.
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Roskam says fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid amounts to $60 billion annually – some of it with criminal intent, some of it just error – and this program could cut that in half.
The effort, which has bipartisan support in Congress, also has the backing of AARP. “It’s critical that Congress adopt responsible solutions that will save taxpayer dollars and improve the overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our nation’s health care system,” said Bob Gallo, Illinois state director of AARP.
Roskam has introduced a bill like this before, but has not yet found success.