Feds tout Medicare fraud bust

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Improper and fraudulent Medicare billings are a key concern for the program as its growing budget faces scrutiny from lawmakers.

In total, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged nearly 600 individuals suspected of participating in about $2 billion fraudulent Medicare billings, officials said.

Attorney General Eric Holder touted these results at a press conference Tuesday.

He said that for every dollar spent on anti-fraud efforts, an average of $8 has been returned to the U.S. Treasury and the Medicare trust fund.

"This takes our comprehensive fight against healthcare fraud to a new level," Holder said. "This work has yielded extraordinary results."

The Fraud Strike Force is a joint project of HHS and the Justice Department (DOJ), which is facing questions over its subpoena of phone records of journalists and editors with the Associated Press.

Those concerns dominated Holder's press conference Tuesday.

Both Sebelius and Holder emphasized aspects of President Obama's healthcare law that are assisting in the anti-fraud effort.

These policies included increased penalties for Medicare fraud and greater use of predictive analytics to pinpoint trends.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director Ron Hosko encouraged the public to be vigilant about fraud in federal healthcare programs.

He encouraged beneficiaries to report any suspicious activity, like unknown charges on their medical bills, and protect their insurance cards and numbers.

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