Physicians Who Owe Back Taxes Could Lose Medicare Payments
Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) this week are expected to introduce legislation that would withhold Medicare reimbursements from physicians and other health care providers who owe federal taxes, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports.
An investigation by Congress in March estimated that 21,000 physicians and other providers in the first nine months of 2005 owed $1.3 billion in back taxes but still were receiving federal payments for treating Medicare beneficiaries.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations authorized the investigation. Levin and Coleman are the chair and ranking member of the committee, respectively.
The bill would require CMS to participate in the Federal Payment Levy Program, which charges delinquent taxpayers with federal payments until the outstanding tax debt is paid.
Coleman said, "Due to the fact that CMS has failed to participate in the Federal Payment Levy Program, we have missed countless opportunities to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid federal taxes."
CMS officials did not comment on the proposed bill (AP/Chicago Tribune, 5/1).