MaineCare fraud-reporting bill gets mixed reaction

Posted Feb. 22, 2012, at 4:57 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill to authorize payments to people who report MaineCare fraud will get closer legislative committee scrutiny next week.

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee heard from a number of groups and individuals who praised the idea as a potential moneymaker for the state and others who found the idea of bounties distasteful.

Lincoln Republican Rep. Jeffrey Gifford’s bill allows payments for a person who brings action citing fraud in MaineCare. Supporters said the state could recover $15 for every $1 spent investigating those cases.

But critics said those pluses are overstated and Maine could get bogged down in multistate litigation which costs money. The Maine Hospital Association’s Jeff Austin called it “profiteering” off law enforcement action. The Maine Medical Association said Maine’s not a hotbed of Medicaid fraud.