A loyal reader brought an interesting article in the January issue of State Legislatures Magazine to my attention, and I thought other readers might find this of interest. The article addresses the top 10 challenges facing state governments in 2013. By way of introduction, for those of you who don’t know, State Legislatures Magazine is published by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-profit, bi-partisan organization dedicated to improving state governments across the country.
The top ten issues identified by the NCSL are as follows, in no particular order: 1. Stabilizing Budgets, 2. addressing health care, 3. protecting state pensions, 4. building and maintaining infrastructure, 5. ensuring future energy needs are met, 6. saving on corrections costs, 7. educating the workforce, 8. strengthening education, 9. creating jobs, and 10. helping to protect families.
The way I see it, state false claims act legislation directly assists state governments with items 1 through 4 and indirectly assists with 5 through 10. We have seen, just in the past two years, a number of excellent examples of how state FCA legislation assists with the main items on the list.
For example, in 2011 a number of qui tam lawsuits began to be unsealed against the two major banks handling foreign exchange transactions on behalf of state pension funds. Those lawsuits–brought by a qui tam relator pursuant to each state’s false claims act– would not have been possible without state false claims acts in Virginia, New York, California, and Florida among others.
And just last year, the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced a $1.5 billion settlement with Abbott Labs, which is the the largest Medicaid settlement in history. In total, the state governments participating in the settlement received $239 million to cover their portion of the Medicaid payments wrongfully obtained by Abbott.
Little wonder, then, that the NCSL has been real asset in the state-to-state battle to pass state false claims legislation. NCSL regularly features articles, commentary, and other helpful materials promoting the value and efficacy of state FCA legislation and qui tam litigation developments.
I encourage all readers to check out the NCSL website and the January issue of State Legislatures Magazine.