Senate Advances Bill To Overhaul Medicaid Program

John J. Bonacic

May 03, 2005

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that the Senate has passed legislation to overhaul the State’s Medicaid fraud detection effort. The goal of Senate bill 3685 of dramatically reducing corruption and waste will result in tremendous savings to taxpayers.

According to the United States General Accounting Office, Medicaid fraud and abuse consumes as much as 30% of the State’s Medicaid expenses. Therefore, with New York State’s Medicaid program totalling $44 billion, the savings realized from preventing fraud translates into billions of dollars.

"Fraud, waste, and abuse is costly to everyone, especially property taxpayers," stated Senator Bonacic. "As such, we must be vigilent and enact policies that are effective in fraud detection, investigation, and prosecution."

Highlights of the Senate bill include:

Creating the position of Medicaid Inspector General

Replacing an outdated system with a new state-of-the-art computerized fraud detection system

Providing funding and personnel to local district attorneys to prosecute fraud cases

This Medicaid fraud plan was initially put forth during budget negotiations, but was rejected by the Assembly.

Senator Bonacic concluded, "Compared to other states, New York is lagging behind in combatting Medicaid fraud. This legislation will dramatically change that and ultimately protect taxpayers. It is my hope the Assembly leadership will rethink their position to bring accountability and integrity to this important health care program."