Legislative Update For Week Ending April 4, 2012

Legislative Update For Week Ending April 4, 2012

This week, action on Capitol Hill slowed down as both Houses of Congress adjourned for a spring recess. Meanwhile, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force held a news conference announcing its recent “mega bust,” and TSCL saw support in the Senate grow for one key bill.

Congress Adjourns for Spring Recess

Members of Congress spent the week in their home states and districts, and are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Monday, May 7. TSCL would like to remind you to contact your Members of Congress to request their support for fair Social Security cost-of-living adjustments and other key issues. Some Members of Congress have scheduled town hall meetings over the weekend, giving constituents an excellent opportunity to voice their concerns.

To find contact information for your Members of Congress, to learn more about key issues affecting seniors, or to sign a petition, please visit the ACTION CENTER of our website.

Strike Force Makes “Mega Bust”

This week, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force – created in 2007 and led by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services – charged more than one hundred doctors, nurses, and social workers for allegedly defrauding Medicare. The event marked the Strike Force’s largest take-down to date.

Fifty-nine individuals in Miami were charged, along with twenty-two in Detroit, eight in Los Angeles, seven in Baton Rouge, one in Chicago, and one in Tampa. Together, the Strike Force detected approximately $452 million in false bidding.

The take-down represents a major accomplishment for the Strike Force, however, many – including TSCL – believe that federal efforts to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare must be strengthened. At the Wednesday news conference, Attorney General Eric Holder noted that for every dollar spent on fighting health care fraud, a return of seven dollars is seen.

Six members of the Senate Finance Committee took an important step on Wednesday, soliciting innovative new fraud prevention ideas from stakeholders. In a letter to members of the health care community, the six wrote, “Together, we believe we can improve program integrity and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.” Later this summer, the Senators will release a report documenting the highlights of the proposals they receive.

Support Grows for Key Senate Bill

This week, one new cosponsor – Rep. Scott Brown (MA) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (S. 2010). The cosponsor total is now up to fourteen.

If signed into law, the Social Security Fairness Act would repeal two provisions of the Social Security Act – the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). These two provisions unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, firefighters, peace officers, and other state or local government employees each year. TSCL believes that Congress should repeal the GPO and the WEP so that dedicated public servants receive the retirement security they deserve.