The State of Alabama has filed a lawsuit to prevent the federal government from taking half of the $282 million the state has been awarded in damages in the Medicaid fraud lawsuits. The pharmaceutical companies cheated the state by overpricing Medicaid drugs and the state filed suit. Attorney General Troy King said at a news conference that state Medicaid officials had received a letter from their federal counterparts asking the state to immediately pay the federal government $140 million from the jury awards and settlements in the cases. The Attorney General filed the lawsuit in federal court in Montgomery in an attempt to stop the federal government from collecting the money by cutting its payments to the state Medicaid program. Cutting the federal allotment would mean Alabama’s cash-strapped program would have to cut medical services to children, low-income Alabama residents and the elderly. The federal government is flat wrong and has no right to the funds.
For the last twenty years, states that administer Medicaid programs have been compelled to follow reimbursement formulas that exist within guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The states have lacked the information and the flexibility to adequately audit or control those expenditures. As a result, those systems have been abused and manipulated by the drug companies at a cost to the states’ programs of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Because of the fiduciary duty owed to those who depend upon Medicaid and its scarce resources for their medicines and treatments the Attorney General acted to stop CMS from taking Alabama’s money. Alabama commenced litigation against 79 pharmaceutical companies for stealing these funds through the systemic abuse juries have seen uncovered in the trials thus far. CMS is trying to take the funds from the very neediest and most vulnerable of all our citizens – our poor, our disabled, our children, and our elderly.
The attempt by CMS to take the state’s money flies in the face of the United States Constitution and well-established federal law. The Attorney General called on President Bush to put an immediate stop to this illegal power grab by the Federal Government. He also asked for the assistance of our two U.S. Senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, and all of our Congressional delegation, as well as Governor Bob Riley, in the battle to protect Alabama taxpayers. This is a battle that affects every Alabamian and one that must be won.
Source: Associated Press
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