For more than 150 years, the False Claims Act has been key to ferreting out fraud in US military and health care spending.

The False Claims Act (FCA) has long served as a powerful weapon against fraud and waste in government programs, from rancid Civil War rations to Medicare scams. The Department of Justice (DOJ) recovered $2.88 billion under the law last year, with whistleblowers involved in the majority of cases.

March 2 marks the anniversary of the law, which was signed in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. After the Civil War, the FCA continued to identify military contractors guilty of mismanagement and fraud. With rising health costs, much of it covered by Medicare, most cases now involve medical providers and suppliers. The DOJ’s December report noted that $2.5 of the $2.8 billion in recovery involved the health care industry. The first line of a story in the trade publication Modern Healthcare reports “Healthcare industry groups have always hated False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuits.”

The law’s qui tam provision allows those with evidence of fraud to sue on behalf of the federal government. In these cases, the whistleblowers often expose crimes the government may have never detected. Qui tam cases accounted for more than $2.1 billion of the $2.8 billion collected in fiscal year 2018. More than $300 million of that went to whistleblowers.


Despite the high numbers, the False Claims Act faces challenges. Here are a few of them:



Exit mobile version