October 31, 2013
Washington, DC--Today, Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) was joined by 32 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, urging that they prioritize resources to combat fraud in the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges.
In the letter, Dr. Ruiz and his colleagues wrote: “Across the country, misinformation about the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges is creating opportunities for con artists to defraud families, seniors, and small businesses. Criminals who defraud consumers for financial gain must be brought to justice. We urge you to devote more resources towards educating consumers, investigating complaints, and taking swift legal action to crack down on fraud.”
"Experience has demonstrated that scam artists will attempt to capitalize on consumer confusion about new government programs to defraud consumers," said Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League (NCL) executive director. "Expanding health care to millions of uninsured Americans has long been a goal of NCL. We must not allow fears of potential fraud to derail the success of the ACA."
Currently, there are reports of criminals preying on consumers as they begin to shop for affordable health insurance on the state and federal exchanges.
Yesterday, at a meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee HHS Secretary Sebelius acknowledged this issue and discussed the importance of addressing fraud in the exchanges.
Dr. Ruiz's letter was signed by the following Members of Congress: Rep. Costa (CA), Rep. Cardenas (CA), Rep. Michaud (ME), Rep. Roybal-Allard (CA), Rep. Gabbard (HI), Rep. Peters (CA), Rep. Swalwell (CA), Rep. Lujan (NM), Rep. Sinema (AZ), Rep. Meng (NY), Rep. Negrete McLeod (CA), Rep. Sherman (CA), Rep. Enyart (IL), Rep. Honda (CA), Rep. Napolitano (CA), Rep. Cartwright (PA), Rep. Esty (CT), Rep. Hastings (FL), Rep. Vela (TX), Rep. Hinojosa (TX), Rep. Foster (IL), Rep. Barber (AZ), Rep. Garcia (FL), Rep. Brownley (CA), Rep. Frankel (FL), Rep. Becerra (CA), Rep. Rangel (NY), Rep. Jeffries (NY), Rep. Capps (CA), Rep. Murphy (FL), Rep. Gallego (TX), Rep. Cuellar (TX).
Additionally, the letter is supported by the National Consumers League, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and the League of United Latin American Citizens.