Wisconsin taxpayers have missed out on over $11 million in Medicaid fraud settlements since the Wisconsin legislature and Gov. Scott Walker repealed the Wisconsin False Claims Act in 2015, reports the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Wisconsin is the only state to have repealed its FCA, despite Gov. Walker's anti-government-waste platform.
In one recent high-profile FCA case, Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, entered into a $465 million settlement with the federal government in August 2017 as a result of FCA allegations against the company. All 50 states and the District of Columbia received money from the settlement; Wisconsin received $3.4 million, but would have received an estimated $695,430 more had it not repealed its FCA statute, said Patrick Burns, associate director of Taxpayers Against Fraud.
The Walker administration had weakened the Wisconsin FCA in stages since the governor first took office in 2011. First, federal officials notified Wisconsin in 2011 that it needed to update its statute in order to remain in compliance with new federal Medicaid program requirements, granting the state until 2013 to do so. The legislature failed to update the law, and subsequently repealed it altogether in the 2015-17 state budget bill. Because the law was out of compliance from 2013 to 2015, Wisconsin received reduced Medicaid incentive payments during this time period despite still having an FCA statute on the books. In keeping with national resistance by business lobbying groups to state FCA statutes, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state's largest business lobbying organization, was the primary advocate for the 2015 repeal.
False Claims Act statutes have long enjoyed bipartisan support given the universal distaste for fraud and waste of government funds—for example, conservative Iowa senator Chuck Grassley has long been one of the biggest supporters of the federal FCA. It is perplexing, to say the least, that politicians of any party are now willing to weaken these important protections for taxpayers.
If you are aware of fraud against the government you may be eligible to blow the whistle in a False Claims Act lawsuit and may be entitled to a portion of the recovery. To find out more, contact Goldberg Kohn for a confidential consultation.