Lawmakers pass bill on combating Medi-Cal fraud
California lawmakers gave their final stamp of approval Thursday to legislation intended to help the state fight Medi-Cal fraud.
The Assembly passed the bill, AB 2492, on a 50-27 vote, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for his signature or veto. The measure was approved 24 to 12 by the state Senate on Monday.
Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), the bill's sponsor, said the legislation would help California secure millions of dollars from fraud investigations by aligning state policies with federal law.
Blumenfield criticized the lack of Republican support for the legislation.
“Fighting fraud should not be political or partisan,” he said in a statement. “It’s a basic responsibility for everyone in government. For all of their talk about attacking fraud and abuse, you’d think Republicans would line up to support bills like this."
The bill would also allow more people to sue based on facts uncovered during fraud investigations. Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for Assembly Republicans, said there were concerns that would cause baseless lawsuits.
"The expansion of private individuals’ ability to bring suits would encourage more frivolous and marginal civil actions," she said, adding that high litigation costs could force small businesses to quickly settle whether or not a claim was valid.
Supporters say the provision on lawsuits is required by the federal government.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Assembly Budget Chairman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), left, listens to Senate Budget Chairman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) question an administration official during a Capitol hearing last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press