Press Room

Sep 29 2011

Sens. Carper, Coburn Urge Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to Focus on Medicare and Medicaid Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Recommend Incorporation of FAST Act Provisions in Committee's Proposal

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction urging the Committee's members to include strong measures to reduce waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid in its proposal to Congress this fall. Specifically, the Senators requested that the Committee use the waste- and fraud-fighting provisions of their bipartisan bill, The Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayers Dollars Act (S. 1251) – or the "FAST" Act – introduced in June 2011.

In the letter, the Senators cite the tens of billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud and abuse within Medicare each year. While these losses put a major drain on the federal budget, the Senators note that there are clear steps that Congress – and the Joint Committee – can take to greatly reduce the amount of money lost each year by adopting provisions of their bipartisan bill, the "FAST" Act. The FAST Act would greatly enhance program integrity efforts underway at Medicare and Medicaid to prevent waste and fraud. The legislation would save scarce taxpayer dollars while protecting quality healthcare coverage for the millions of Americans who depend on Medicare and Medicaid and do so without compromising the pay given to healthcare providers for the quality care they provide.

"The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is charged with the monumental assignment of recommending over a trillion dollars in cuts to our nation's deficit," said Sen. Carper. "The FAST Act can help that effort by putting important tools in place to reduce the billions of dollars lost to waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. Reducing the waste and fraud that plagues these two vital healthcare programs that millions of Americans depend on, while still protecting the quality of care they provide and achieving our nation's deficit reduction goals, is a win-win-win that all Americans can support. While the FAST Act is not a silver bullet to solve our nation's budgetary woes, it is an important piece of the deficit reduction puzzle and deserves serious consideration from the Committee. This is the right thing to do, both for the health of Medicare and Medicaid and for our federal budget as a whole."

"Each year we don't reform Medicare and Medicaid, tens of billions of dollars will continue to be lost to waste, fraud and abuse," said Dr. Coburn. "Now is the time to reject the status quo and implement long-term solutions. The FAST Act provides a widely supported guideline for taking an important first step toward program integrity and deficit reduction."

The FAST Act has garnered support from a number of organizations including AARP, Citizens Against Government Waste, the National Taxpayers Union and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Click here for a PDF version of the signed letter.


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