Tag: Medicaid

Drugmakers have paid $8 billion in fraud fines

By Kelly Kennedy The nation’s largest drugmakers have paid at least $8 billion in fines for repeatedly defrauding Medicare and Medicaid over the past decade, but they remain in business with the federal government because they are often the sole suppliers of critical products, records show.

Pfizer, the maker of drugs that help alleviate arthritis and other ailments, has paid almost $3 billion in fines since 2002 and entered into three corporate integrity agreements with the Department of Health and Human Services aimed at preventing future fraud. It and other companies are fighting attempts by Congress to exclude them from government business because of their history of fraud.

Merck, another pharmaceutical giant, paid $1.6 billion in fines since 2008, Medicare and Justice Department records show, to resolve claims it was not paying proper rebates to the government.

Health care plan ruled unconstitutional

By Tom Schoenberg and Margaret Cronin Fisk
U.S. President Barack Obama.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.
The Obama administration’s requirement that most citizens maintain minimum health coverage as part of a broad overhaul of the industry is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled, striking down the linchpin of the plan.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, today said that the requirement in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. While severing the coverage mandate, which is set to become effective in 2014, Hudson didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid.

“At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate,” wrote Hudson, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002.