Illinois representative leads way on Medicare fraud legislation

June 17, 2013

AP/File
Illinois Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam hopes to curb Medicare and Medicaid Fraud.

U.S. Representative Peter Roskam  (R-IL6) stood in Northwestern Memorial hospital, flanked a group of seniors from AARP.

He asked, ‘with all the current fiscal problems, what would happen if we found out there were billions of dollars suddenly available?’

“Well the fact is there is,” he said.  “Medicare and Medicaid today, through fraud, error and abuse are overpaying 60 billion dollars.”

Roskam is leading the way on a bill that would try to stop some of that loss by using technology called predictive modeling.

It’s something credit card companies have used for years.  For example, if you have ever gotten a call from your credit card company saying there were suspicious charges on card, maybe thousands of dollars were spent on a boat in Alaska, but you’d don’t ever make big charges or travel to Alaska, then you’ve benefited from this technology.

Similar bills have failed in the past. “The way Washington works is there are a lot of exit ramps for progress,” said Roskam.

“What we are trying to do is bring this out of the political drama, lower the wattage all the way around, and say ‘Look, there is identifiable problem, there is a identifiable solution, we can create a win, win here.’”

Roskam is sponsoring the bill alongside a democrat, Rep. John Carney of Delaware. Identical legislation in the Senate, is also being presented with bipartisan support.  

Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @shannon_h.