Lewis Opening Statement at Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Efforts to Combat Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Medicare
(As prepared for delivery)
Good Morning, Madam Chair. I would like to thank you for holding this hearing. I would also like to thank our witnesses for taking time to be with us today.
Madam Chair, this Subcommittee’s work touches many areas, but protecting and preserving Medicare is one of our most sacred duties. The fight against fraud, waste, and abuse is not a partisan matter. It is a human one.
As you know, Medicare covers 58 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries from every state. I believe that we have a mission, an obligation, and a mandate to preserve the sacred trust of seniors, families in need, and people living with disabilities. The fight against fraud, waste, and abuse is essential to keep the promise of Medicare for all who rely on it.
Yet, as we recommit to fighting fraud, let us take care. Our first priority should be to ensure that beneficiaries have access to quality and life-saving services. As Medicare adopts new payment models, this administration must continue President Obama’s work to fight new forms of fraud. They must continue the Affordable Care Act’s investments and programs that prevent fraud before it happens.
Madam Chair, I will always welcome the opportunity to strengthen and protect Medicare, but time is of the essence. Almost one year ago, this subcommittee held this exact same hearing, with essentially the same agencies at the witness table.
Each day, there are troubling news reports about the state of our health systems. We must do more to realize our commitment to Medicare beneficiaries. Our work is cut out for us. We know what we need to do. Unfortunately, this Committee has done little to address patients’ access to care, social factors of health, the closure of rural hospitals, or the price of prescription drugs.
For far too many people, these issues are a matter of life and death – and every second, every minute, every day matters. As Members of Congress, we can do more – much more. I hope that we can find bipartisan, common-sense solutions that respond to the real needs of the American people.
Again, Madam Chair, thank you for holding today’s hearing, and I look forward to the witnesses’ testimony.