Alabama Senate Reduces Medicaid Fraud, Protecting Taxpayers

By Trip Pittman

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama State Senate has wasted no time in the 2017 session approving legislation to protect taxpayers. On Tuesday, Senator Trip Pittman (R-Fairhope) passed an Alabama Senate Republican Caucus priority – Senate Bill 85, which strengthens penalties for committing Medicaid fraud. It will serve as a further deterrent to health care providers who seek to fraudulently bill the state Medicaid program for services or tests.

Alabama Medicaid is the largest budget line item in the General Fund budget and the fastest growing cost to state government due to the inflation of health care costs and increased subscribers. It is jointly funded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Studies, a federal agency, and the State of Alabama.

“We have phenomenal health care providers and hospitals in our state, but there are some bad actors who have cost taxpayers millions of dollars through fraud,” remarked sponsor Senator Pittman. “This Medicaid fraud-reduction bill will close the loopholes criminals used to bilk taxpayers.”

The bill extends current Medicaid fraud criminal penalties to corporations and other businesses entities. It also extends the statute of limitations to six years, allowing district attorneys and the attorney general to claw back fraudulently billed funds over a longer period.

“Senator Pittman is one of the staunchest budget hawks in the Legislature, and I appreciate his focused efforts to protect our limited budget dollars against fraud,” Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed said. “Alabama Senate Republicans are committed to protecting taxpayers and this bill is the perfect example of us doing so.”

SB85 is part of the Alabama Senate Republican Caucus “Strengthen Alabama” 2017 legislative agenda, which also includes bills to reallocate judicial resources, strengthen gun laws, cut taxes, and protect religious freedoms.

Senator Trip Pittman represents District 32 in the Alabama State Senate, which is contained fully within Baldwin County, and is Chairman of the Senate Finance & Taxation-Education Committee. He is a small business owner and a former member of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.