Last week, the state of Wisconsin repealed its False Claims Act, a "Medicaid only" law that, since being enacted in 2007, has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars for the state of Wisconsin. Who would want a law that punishes fraud and that pays for itself time and again in recoveries to be repealed? What arguments were made that convinced the Wisconsin state legislature to repeal its FCA?
The sad answer to the former question is "businesses engaging in fraud." Unfortunately, these also happen to include the largest and most well-funded corporations. Nobody benefits from the repeal of False Claims Act statutes except for businesses engaging in wrongdoing.
The equally unfortunate answer to the latter question is "none." The repeal of the FCA was surreptitiously added to the Wisconsin state budget with no discussion or debate. The amendment, which was part of an omnibus motion on Medicaid funding, did not even reference the statute by name or substance, so as to alert the legislators; it simply read “Section 945n. 20.931 of the statutes is repealed.” The Assembly passed the budget on a vote of 52-46, with 11 Republicans joining all 35 Democrats in opposition.
What potential whistleblowers need to know, however, is that the lack of a state False Claims Act does not preclude the filing of a False Claims Act case for Medicaid fraud. Approximately 60% of Medicaid funding comes from the federal government, and so any Medicaid fraud claims you may have, whether they are coming out of Wisconsin, another state, Washington D.C., or Puerto Rico, may be brought under the federal False Claims Act statute. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Wisconsin and other states without an FCA, a smaller percentage of that recovery will be returned to the state coffers, with the federal government claiming a larger share.
Bracker & Marcus LLC litigates False Claims Act cases nationwide, including Wisconsin. Feel free to contact us if you have a potential case or a question about how the repeal or lack of a state FCA statute affects your potential case.