Health Care Bill Strengthens False Claims Act

March 23, 2010--Health care reform legislation passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama strengthens the ability of the Federal Government to go after fraud in all areas of U.S. Government contracting.

"At a time when the U.S. Government is dramatically expanding health care coverage for all Americans, Congress has stepped in to send a clear signal that it intends to wage a serious and protracted battle against fraud" said Taxpayers Against Fraud President Jeb White. 

"The health care legislation signed into law strengthens the False Claims Act.  We are especially pleased that Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recognized the need to clarify the public disclosure language of the False Claims Act in order to prevent fraud feasors from gutting meritorious cases.  Congress has quite correctly decided that the U.S. Department of Justice should be the first decider when it come to public disclosure decisions, rather than those engaged in lying, stealing and cheating U.S. taxpayers."

"In addition the legislation underscores that health care providers engaged in kickbacks are also subject to the False Claims Act."

The False Claims Act works by incentivizing whistleblowers to come forward and partner with the U.S. Government to recover stolen money.  The cost of investigations and prosecutions, as well as whistleblower awards, are funded by triple damage penalties which work to penalize companies above and beyond the cost of doing business.

The Act has recovered nearly $26 billion since 1986.  The legislation passed today strengthens Act by clearing up some of the judicial confusion that has plagued some whistleblower suits in recent years.