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Reducing Health Care Costs – More Good News

 Yesterday, we received two more pieces of good news about our work to bring down the cost of health care.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the Obama Administration’s work to fight fraud, we’re delivering real savings for businesses and families and fighting criminals who steal from the health care system. We are also making it easier for small businesses to insure their workers.

Record High Number of Health Care Fraud Prosecutions

The Obama Administration is committed to fighting health care fraud and a new independent report shows just how serious we are about cracking down on criminals. The independent Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse examined data from the Justice Department and reported:

“Federal health care fraud prosecutions reached an historic high last year. During the twelve months of fiscal year 2011, the government reported 1,235 new health care fraud prosecutions -- the largest number reported since separate tracking of this offense began twenty years ago. This number is up 68.9% over the past fiscal year when the number of criminal prosecutions totaled 731.”

Health care fraud is a crime and when fraudsters steal from the health care system, we all pay the price in the form of higher health care costs. This news builds on the Vice President’s announcement earlier this week on a new Medicare initiative to crack down on fraudulent prescriptions for drugs like OxyContin. And the record number of prosecutions is yet another sign that President Obama’s team is serious about fighting fraud and it sends a strong message to anyone who would think about committing these crimes.

Relief for Families and Small Businesses

Our second piece of good news came when we learned that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will provide more than 4,200 small businesses in West Virginia with rebates worth an average of $2,500 per business.

Highmark is providing the rebates because of a new rule in the Affordable Care Act. Under the law, if insurance companies don’t spend at least 80 percent of your premium dollar on medical care and quality rather than advertising, overhead and bonuses for executives, they have to provide you a rebate for those excessive profits.  

When Highmark determined they wouldn’t meet the standard, they cut their premiums, giving consumers some welcome health care cost relief. We expect more consumers across the country to benefit from this provision of the law in the weeks and months ahead.

The Bottom Line

President Obama is committed to controlling health care costs and the latest news shows his work is making a difference.

Nancy-Ann DeParle is the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff