The United States charged 89 people in eight cities yesterday with healthcare fraud that involved $223 million in fraudulent claims, Reuters reported.
This is the government's sixth national crackdown on healthcare fraud since 2010, but U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that budget cuts due to the sequestration may limit future efforts to clampdown on fraudulent claims.
"Unless Congress adopts a balanced deficit reduction plan and stops the reductions currently slated for 2014, I fear that our capacity to protect the American people from health-care fraud, to safeguard vital programs and precious resources, and to hold criminals accountable--will be further reduced," Holder said yesterday in a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Since 2007, the government's Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have falsely billed the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled for $5 billion, according to Reuters.
This latest action involved defendants in several major cities including Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles and Brooklyn, N.Y. Holder said the crimes involved fraudulent use of Medicare information obtained illegally from the elderly or low-income individuals and submission of false bills for services never provided.