Dec 12, 2019

10 former NFL players charged with health care fraud

Runningback Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. Photo: Hunter Martin /Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images

The Justice Department has charged 10 former NFL players Wednesday with allegedly defrauding the health care benefit program for retired athletes.

The big picture: The charges follow an FBI investigation that showed the players filed nearly $4 million in false and fraudulent claims under the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which paid out more than $3.4 million between June 2017 and Dec. 2018.

The charges were filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky against:

  • Robert McCune
  • John Eubanks
  • Tamarick Vanover
  • Ceandris Brown
  • James Butler
  • Fredrick Bennett
  • Correll Buckhalter
  • Etric Pruitt
  • Clinton Portis
  • Carlos Rogers

Former NFL wide receivers Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell will also be charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses. Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice.”
— Assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski said in a statement

Go deeper: Health care's fraud and abuse laws are getting overhauled

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Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Scott Eisen/Getty Images and Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans worry a lot about how to get and pay for good health care, but the 2020 presidential candidates are barely talking about what's at the root of these problems: Almost every incentive in the U.S. health care system is broken.

Why it matters: President Trump and most of the Democratic field are minimizing the hard conversations with voters about why health care eats up so much of each paycheck and what it would really take to change things.

Health Care Vitals: Washington, D.C.

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Republican satisfaction with health care costs surges under Trump

A new Gallup survey shows that Republicans have gotten a whole lot happier about the cost of health care since President Trump took office, while Democrats' satisfaction has plummeted.

Our thought bubble: There is very little reason for anyone to be satisfied with the cost of health care in the U.S. — and that has been true for a very long time.

Go deeperArrowDec 12, 2019