Health care program penalties rise with Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

Buried within a two-year budget agreement, among hundreds of pages of federal spending legislation, are key changes to several federal health care fraud statutes. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), enacted on February 9, 2018, increased the criminal and civil penalties that can be imposed for violating certain federal  health care laws and clarified liability under another.

These changes to the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL), and Stark Law got limited mentions in the statements, debates, and reports from Congress leading up to the passage of the BBA. However, a closer look at the broader Congressional intent driving these changes provides some insight into the motivations for, and reinforces the steady progression of, increasing criminal and civil penalties for health care fraud violations.

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