June 26,2003

Grassley on the HCA Health Fraud Case


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: HCA fraud settlement
Da: Thursday, June 26, 2003

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, made the following commenton the Justice Department’s settlement of the HCA Inc. health fraud case.

"I had to badger the Justice Department to see the math in this case. At the last minute, theJustice Department agreed to show my investigators why this settlement was the best the governmentcould do. There’s no way to know exactly how much HCA pocketed. This case is so complicated,and so huge, that no one will ever know exactly how much HCA took. This case is troublingbecause it shows how one company, with unbridled greed, systematically defrauded the government'shealth care programs. I appreciate the Justice Department's long-time commitment to thisinvestigation and efforts to recover $1.7 billion from HCA.

"The taxpayers rely on the Justice Department and the False Claims Act to protect themagainst corporate greed and fraud. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, my first priorityis to examine how the False Claims Act is working. Congress has a responsibility to ensure thatevery cent taken by crooked health care providers is given back to American taxpayers. I'll continueworking to strengthen the False Claims Act and to ensure that future settlements fully reimburse theMedicare Trust Funds. One change that appears critical is a better system, maybe throughlegislation, for ensuring that Congress is advised about settlements. Congress has a constitutionalresponsibility to conduct oversight of the other branches of government. We can't fulfill thatresponsibility if the other branches keep us in the dark."