As he debates on the senate floor on a bill that he cosponsored, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa released a statement reminding Americans that these fragile economic times are ideal for passing a bill aimed at empowering whistleblowers to help recover and stop health care and other types of fraud. The legislation, addressing among other things weaknesses in the False Claims Act (FCA), is necessary to encourage individuals in qui-tam type lawsuits to pursue cases that the Justice Department might or might not pursue.
Grassley says in his April 20, 2009, statement that special interests are surfacing, who don’t want to encourage whistleblowers to report wrongdoing and are looking to squelch the bill.
The point: We can’t keep spending, as a nation, without taking steps to combat fraud and abuse. The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act not only ensures that law enforcement officials and prosecutors have the tools and resources necessary to enforce our laws, but it also amends the civil False Claims Act to ensure that taxpayer money lost to fraud, waste or abuse can be recovered.
The legislation, most importantly, will ensure that the law adheres to the FCA’s original intent.
“Specifically, these amendments address a loophole that was created in the FCA by the Supreme Court decision in Allison Engine which could be used by fraudfeasors to evade liability by hiring subcontractors to perform work on government contracts. Some defendants are already filing briefs in court seeking to have FCA cases dismissed based upon this decision, and it needs to be addressed to protect taxpayer dollars,” Grassley writes.
“We need to act now to stomp out new claims of fraud to send a message that the American taxpayers won’t be taken for a ride.”
To read the entire statement, go to: http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=20209.
For more information about qui tam law and health care fraud, contact Nolan and Auerbach, PA .