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Rep. Higgins Dismayed by Tax Breaks for Health Insurance Company Executives Accused of Bilking Taxpayers out of Billions of Dollars

May 22, 2017
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means and its Health Subcommittee, raised strong objection to executive tax breaks included in the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA).  Higgins points out the absurdity of rewarding UnitedHealth Group, and companies like it, accused of bilking taxpayers out of billions of dollars. 

Congressman Higgins on the House floor

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On May 15, 2017, the New York Times depicted the account of a whistleblower, a former UnitedHealth Group top executive, exposing the company’s purported fraud of the American taxpayer.  This account alleges that UnitedHealth and other firms have defrauded Medicare by deliberately distorting patient diagnoses, through an “upcoding” billing scheme that may have cost taxpayers billions of dollars. 

Higgins also raised the issue during a Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing with guest witness Mark Miller, the Executive Director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. 

Congressman Higgins sitting at a hearing

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Last week Higgins sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be actively involved in rooting out fraud by the insurance companies.  On May 16, 2017, the DOJ announced it filed a complaint against UnitedHealth Group alleging that the insurance company “knowingly obtained inflated risk adjustment payments based on untruthful and inaccurate information about the health status of beneficiaries enrolled in UHG’s Medicare Advantage Plans.”   The Western New York U.S. Attorney’s Office is involved in this complaint. 

Higgins is calling on the Department of Justice to vigorously pursue justice for the American people in the lawsuit against these companies and is urging Congress to step-up its oversight role.