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Fingerprint Medicaid Patients
Thursday, 06 January 2011

January 6--  A leader in the Georgia Senate wants a law to fingerprint Medicaid patients to cut down on fraud.

Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams of Lyons estimates the state could save up to $100 million.

"One of the things that's happening is card-swapping.  We issue Medicaid cards and those folks who get those cards give those cards to their friends and family members and they go use those cards like they're on Medicaid.  There's really no way to check it.  So, we're going to require a fingerprint, and we're going to require a fingerprint by assuring that the provider actually sees that patient.  By fingerprinting when they come in to the doctor's office and when they leave, we know some time has been spent there.  We think this could save as much as $100 million," Senator Williams says.

The state legislature convenes next week and will consider state tax reform recommendations which are expected to reduce state income tax rates while imposing a sales tax on groceries, something Senator Williams supports.

"I like a consumption tax over an income tax.  We have a lot of people who travel through Georgia who pay no tax on food, illegals are not paying tax and people who are not paying any tax on the property or income side.  It's fair, it's flatter and I think people will be happier with it," Williams predicts.

He also expects the General Assembly to give tax breaks to companies which bring jobs to Georgia.  "A lot of the companies which warehouse look closely at whether a state has an inventory tax.  If they have an inventory that's going to be taxed at the end of the year and another state doesn't charge that, they're going to locate there.  We want to get rid of that tax because we think it will create jobs and bring some big box companies into Georgia," he said.

Senator Williams and State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia were featured at the annual chamber of commerce pre-legislative forum in Vidalia Thursday.  Comments from Representative Morris will be featured in an upcoming story.

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