[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[January 13, 1998]
[Pages 47-48]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Lifting the Medicare Home Health Provider Moratorium
January 13, 1998

    Medicare is more than just another program. For millions of 
Americans, it is a lifeline. Maintaining the integrity of that lifeline 
has long been a top priority of this administration.
    Last September I announced that the Department of Health and Human 
Services was declaring the first ever moratorium to stop new home health 
providers from entering the Medicare program. We took this unprecedented 
action to give the administration the opportunity to implement new 
regulations to create protections to screen out providers who are likely 
to cheat Medicare.
    Today I am announcing that the Department is removing the moratorium 
because those new, tougher regulations are in place to root out fraud 
and abuse in the home health industry. These regulations will help keep 
the bad apples--the providers who commit fraud and abuse--out of the 
home health industry. These actions--combined with other antifraud 
initiatives and other savings initiatives--have helped

[[Page 48]]

slow the growth of home health spending. In fact, the Medicare actuary 
now reports that the rate of increase in Medicare spending on home 
health has slowed to just 5.4 percent from previous rates that exceeded 
25 percent.
    These efforts to root fraud and abuse out of the home health 
industry build on my administration's longstanding efforts to combat 
fraud and abuse. Since 1993, we have assigned more Federal prosecutors 
and FBI agents to fight health care fraud than ever before. As a result, 
convictions have gone up a full 240 percent, and we have saved some $20 
billion in health care claims. The Kassebaum-Kennedy legislation I 
signed into law created--for the first time ever--a stable funding 
source to fight fraud and abuse. This year's historic Balanced Budget 
Act, which ensured the life of the Medicare Trust Fund until at least 
2010, also gave us an array of new weapons in our fight to keep scam 
artists and fly-by-night health care providers out of Medicare and 
    I would like to thank the Department of Health and Human Services 
and the Department of Justice for their efforts to combat fraud and 
abuse in the home health industry.
    We will continue to work to ensure that we do everything possible to 
combat fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.