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Article updated: 6/11/2013 8:58 AM

Roskam: Anti-theft tech could save Medicare money

Peter Roskam

Peter Roskam

 
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SPRINGFIELD -- U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam says the same technology that credit card companies use to protect their customers from theft could help scale back Medicare fraud.

Roskam, a Wheaton Republican, introduced legislation Monday that would have the federal government create such a system.

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Roskam said people who use Medicare benefits despite not being eligible costs as much as $60 billion a year.

"It is outrageous that the federal government has this problem where they can't keep track of the money properly," Roskam said.

Credit card users likely are familiar with the technology Roskam favors. It's an automated system that flags purchases that the cardholder is unlikely to have made.

If a card number held by a suburban person, for example, starts being used at stores out of state that the cardholder never goes to, the credit card company might automatically contact the owner to make sure everything is OK.

Roskam's legislation seeks to use a similar system with Medicare fraud. He says if fraud is caught sooner, the program can save money.

"Right now, it's such a hassle," he said.

The idea has already drawn some support in the suburbs, with U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, saying in a statement that she wants on board.

"Medicare is a program that means a great deal to my neighbors, and it is essential that we take steps to make sure that it is financially stable moving forward," Duckworth said.

Roskam says his plan has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Now, he'll start working to find support either to move the legislation on its own or get it attached to bigger proposal.

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