Health Care Fraud Losses 33 Times Avatar Box Office Gross

 

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Holder, speaking at a health-care fraud summit at the National Institutes of Health, said he would push to strengthen a Cabinet-level team devoted to the effort in addition to intensifying anti-fraud strike forces around the country. Holder also said he would ask Congress for more funding and legislation targeting fraud while reaching out to the private sector — one of the aims of the health-care fraud summit.

The Attorney General said more than $60 billion in public and private health-care spending was lost to fraud each year. Holder, joined by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, brought the oft-cited estimate to life with a bit of pop-culture.

“That is a staggering amount of money,” Holder said in prepared remarks. “It’s half the entire economy of Secretary Sebelius’ home state of Kansas. It is more than the net worth of America’s eight largest private foundations. And it’s 33 times the amount of money that Avatar — now the highest-earning movie of all time — has made at the box office.” 

Holder and Sebelius lead the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, known as HEAT, which supports the efforts of seven health-care fraud strike forces around the country. January 28th’s summit was intended to ally the public and private sectors in HEAT’s mission.  Representatives from the insurance industry and health care-provider community were among those in attendance.

“There’s no question that our ability to protect taxpayer dollars, to ensure the viability of our government health care programs, and to strengthen our national health care system depends on our ability to expand the discussion beyond the federal government,” Holder said.

In his State of the Union speech to Congress, President Obama said he was prepared to freeze government spending for three years, starting in 2011, and urged Congress to pass a “pay as you go” law. Anti-fraud efforts have also taken on new urgency as Congress tussles over health-care legislation that could cost upwards of a trillion dollars if enacted.

Holder noted that the department recovered more than $2 billion in 2009 under the False Claims Act. On the criminal enforcement front, the department charged more than 800 people for health-care fraud and related crimes and won more than 580 convictions, he added.

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