U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara is shaking off criticism from Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that recently named her and another California lawmaker as "Porkers of the Month."
The organization said that the lawmakers attempted to block the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments to Medicare providers in the state of California by co-sponsoring a bill that would place a one-year moratorium on a program designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to return nearly $120 million in improper payments made to hospitals and health care providers in California.
The group gives its award to officials it says have shown a disregard for taxpayers' interests. The group said in its release that Capps and U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, are "more interested in kowtowing to pressure from hospitals in their districts that billed for millions of dollars they were not entitled to than shielding the Medicare program and taxpayers from huge losses."
In a statement, Capps responded to the group's allegations by saying that the audit program could ultimately cost taxpayers more money than it ends up saving.
"The legislation Rep. Nunes and I introduced puts this clearly questionable program on hold for a year so we can identify and fix these problems before it puts additional health care providers out of business and more patients at risk," Capps said. "Even CAGW should be able to recognize the common sense in halting a government program that isn't working properly."