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Overcriminalization

"Overcriminalization" describes the trends in America - and particulary in Congress - to use the criminal law to "solve" every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives.

HR 1200: American Health Security Act of 2011

Official Title

To provide for health care for every American and to control the cost and enhance the quality of the health care system.

Analysis

This bill would repeal Title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act dealing with state exchanges and would establish in its place a State-Based American Health Security Program that would oversee a new “universal entitlement” to benefits for certain health care services, including community health, preventative care, long-term care, dental, and substance abuse treatment services. The bill also makes the fraud and abuse provisions of the Social Security Act (SSA) applicable to the health security programs “in the same manner as they apply to State medical assistance plans under title XIX” of the SSA. Specifically, this would make the criminal provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b applicable to false statements, misrepresentations, bribes, kickbacks, or other fraudulent behavior perpetrated by individuals participating in the state-based programs. “Knowing and willful” violators of these provisions would be subject to criminal sanctions of up to five years imprisonment, fines of up to $25,000, or both. In addition, convicted violators of these provisions could have their future ability to benefit from the “universal entitlement” program limited, restricted, or suspended. Despite the requirement that criminal violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b be both “knowing and willful,” the language of the section was modified in 2010 to undermine this protection by stating that “with respect to violations of this section, a person need not have actual knowledge of this section or specific intent to commit a violation.” The level of criminal intent necessary to establish a violation of these provisions of the SSA (and thus under H.R. 1200) is therefore lower and less protective than the stated standard of “knowingly and willfully.”

Legislation Details
SPONSOR

McDermott (D - WA)

STATUS:

03/17/2011: Referred to House Education and the Workforce Committee
03/17/2011: Referred to House Armed Services Committee
03/17/2011: Referred to House Ways and Means Committee
03/17/2011: Introduced in House
4/1/2011: Referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy.
4/4/2011: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
4/7/2011: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
5/18/2011: Referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.