Analysis: The Politics Of Medicare Reform (10/02/97)
Clinton: Crack Down On Medicare Fraud (09/15/97)
Clinton Calls For Medicare Crackdown
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 13) -- President Bill Clinton says he will push for a new crackdown on Medicare fraud and will ask Congress to pass legislation changing the amount of reimbursement health care providers can claim for prescription drugs.
In his Saturday radio address, Clinton said his goal was to save $700 million over the next five years.
"There must be no room for waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare," Clinton said. "Only by putting a permanent stop to it can we honor our parents, protect our taxpayers and build a world-class health care system for the 21st century."
The centerpiece of the White House initiative on Medicare reform would be legislation to change the way the federal program reimburses doctors and clinics for drugs.
Under current rules, health care providers are reimbursed based on the published average wholesale price of medications. But in many cases, the price doctors and clinics actually pay for drugs is much less.
A recent study by the Health and Human Services Department found that Medicare was paying substantially more for 22 commonly prescribed drugs. Reimbursements were found to be up to 10 times the actual cost.
Under Clinton's proposal, health care providers could only be reimbursed for what they actually paid for medications.
"Taxpayers deserve to expect that every cent of hard-earned money is spent on quality medical care for deserving patients," Clinton said.
In a letter to Clinton, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's health panel, Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., said Republicans welcomed the proposal.
"I applaud your efforts to raise the consciousness of the American people about this issue," Thomas said.
In his radio address, Clinton said that since 1993, a crackdown by his administration on Medicare fraud has led to a 240 percent increase in convictions and $20 billion in savings.
He said an anti-fraud initiative launched by HHS two years ago, named Operation Restore Trust, has "identified $23 in fines and settlements for every dollar invested in the program."
In Other News:
Weekend Dec. 13 & 14, 1997
Copyright © 1997 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.