Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Speaker, my Washington Waste Watcher colleagues and I, Republican members of the freshman class, have come to the floor tonight to devise new and innovative ways for trimming the fat out of government. I believe we owe it to the American taxpayer to hold Washington bureaucrats accountable for wasteful spending and to discover new ways for reducing fraud in government at all levels. A great American from Ellijay, Georgia, Mr. Joe McCutchen, reminds me of this at least once a month.
Mr. Speaker, after spending 28 years as an OB-GYN doctor, it should be no surprise that part of my legislative agenda is to reorganize and revamp this Medicare program, which is currently responsible for billions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse. The General Accounting Office has estimated that one of every 10 dollars is wasted because our current Medicare system is open to poor management and fraud. Dishonest individuals find new and more creative ways to cheat our Medicare system every day, burdening Americans with higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher copays.
For example, according to the Bureau of National Affairs in an April 25, 2003, article of ``Health Care Daily,'' a Florida woman was sentenced for her role in a scheme that allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $25 million worth of false claims for, get this, wheelchairs, alternating pressure mattresses, and other durable medical equipment; $25 million of taxpayer money that is lost and unrefundable, money that could have been used to improve our schools or aid our soldiers in Iraq or provide health care for the uninsured.
Another example comes from the Health and Human Services Inspector General report to Congress, April 2000. It was reported that Medicare paid an estimated $20.6 million for services that started after the posted death dates of certain recipients. My good friend and colleague, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite), just a few minutes earlier mentioned the same thing. Of this amount, $8 million was paid, despite the fact the Department had already noted their deaths in the main database.
These are just examples of the mismanagement of time and resources that are costing Americans billions of dollars every year. In these times of war and emphasis on homeland security, we cannot afford to spend another dollar on wasteful programs, and we must save money by eradicating fraud against and within the Federal Government.
Mr. Speaker, it is time to restore responsibility and accountability to government programs by rooting out this waste, fraud and abuse in our government. I urge my colleagues to help pass needed Medicare reform.
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