In an effort to combat fraudulent Medicaid claims and blatant abuse of the system, State Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) has filed a bill that, if adopted, would make it easier for bad actors to be punished for their crime.
House Bill 334, one of several pieces of proposed legislation Rep. Ashby has introduced in advance of the 84th Texas Legislature, seeks to amend the Texas Penal Code to preclude the recouping of funds from being used as a defense against prosecution during a Medicaid fraud case.
“We have obvious and intentional bad actors who are abusing the system with fraudulent behavior,” Rep. Ashby said. “But these criminals are able to get off the hook if they can repay the money they’ve stolen from the Medicaid program. That does nothing to dissuade potential abusers. If anything, it provides incentive for future crimes by allowing these folks to think that if they get caught, they can just return the money.”
Rep. Ashby’s effort in the House of Representatives to curtail this criminal behavior has been mirrored in the Senate, where Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) has filed a companion bill to HB 334.
“This could go a long way in aiding state prosecutors who are trying to punish people who have committed this type of fraud,” Rep. Ashby said. “And, it sends the message that Texas is not going to allow itself to be taken advantage of by individuals who would abuse the system for profit.”
The 84th Session of the Texas Legislature begins on January 13, 2015.