For Immediate Release
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
Health Care Bill Enhances Whistleblower Protections
WASHINGTON - As part of the
anti-fraud provisions of the health care legislation passed yesterday,
Congress strengthened the False Claims Act - one of the most effective
whistleblower laws in the United States - in order to ensure that
whistleblowers can expose fraud under the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act.
Lindsey Williams, Advocacy Director at the National Whistleblowers
Center, explained the whistleblower provisions incorporated into the
health care law: "The bill directly addresses the right of
whistleblowers to obtain protection under the False Claims Act. A
number of courts had significantly narrowed the interpretation of
'whistleblower' under the law, resulting in a chilling effect on
employees' willingness to risk their careers to expose fraud against
the taxpayers. The health care legislation passed by Congress contains
a much-needed provision correcting these narrow, anti-whistleblower
The legislation also ensures that the False Claims Act anti-fraud
provisions will apply to the "exchanges" established under the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act if they use federal funds.
Additionally, the False Claims Act is strengthened regarding failure to
return overpayments and includes greater anti-kickback provisions.
"Regardless of where you stood on the health care debate, this is
a major step forward for fraud prevention and ensures that
whistleblowers, who risk their careers to expose fraud in the new
health care system and by large pharmaceutical companies, won't have
their cases maliciously thrown out of court," added Ms. Williams.
Link to Pages 2082-2083 on FCA amendments
Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.