House Adopts Rep. Porter Amendment to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries from Fraud
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today adopted an amendment by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) that would increase funding for a program to protect Medicare recipients from fraud. The proposal passed with a large bipartisan majority.
“It is unacceptable that older adults continue to be targeted when it comes to fraud and abuse,” Congresswoman Porter said. “I’m proud to support the critical work of educating our older residents so that they can protect themselves from scam artists, and I’m thankful to have support from both Republicans and Democrats.”
The Senior Medicare Patrol Program (SMP) reaches out to Medicare beneficiaries in their communities by hosting group presentations, exhibiting at community events, answering calls to the SMP helplines, and providing one-on-one counseling. They teach Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers how to protect their personal identity and identify deceptive or fraudulent health care practices.
There are 54 SMPs across the country, and California’s SMP is based in Irvine and administered by California Health Advocates (CHA). In 2018, CHA reached 200,000 California Medicare beneficiaries, families, and caregivers with fraud prevention messages, hosted nearly 3,000 outreach events to educate communities about Medicare and Medicaid health care fraud, and recruited over 600 volunteers across the state to fight for seniors and families.
“We applaud Congresswoman Porter for her commitment to the health and welfare of California’s 6 million Medicare beneficiaries (and the 67 million Medicare beneficiaries in the United States) through her fervent support of our Senior Medicare Patrol program - dedicated to educating all our citizens about healthcare fraud prevention so they are not victimized by scammers and fraudsters,” said Micki Nozaki, Director of the Senior Medicare Patrol Program with California Health Advocates.
Rep. Porter’s amendment increases SMP funding within the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Account of H.R. 2740, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020.
Rep. Porter has been a key advocate for older adults since coming to Congress. Last month, she introduced legislation to support homecare needs for older Americans. In April, she introduced a bill that would permanently lower the income threshold for the medical expense tax deduction, supporting older residents who have high healthcare costs. She also introduced legislation in March that would allow more than double the amount of money families can set aside pre-tax to go towards adult daycare.