When we saw the words “health benefits fraud” in a headline recently, our first thought was finally, a step toward justice in the massive kickbacks to public employees in South Jersey for submitting bogus prescriptions to their lavishly funded state health plan.
A federal investigation detailed at least $50 million in fraudulent claims, starting in 2015. Of the 200 involved — including school employees, firefighters and other government workers — many have been convicted but fewer sentenced. The public is rightly worried after so many years that one part of government may be going easy on lawbreakers in another part who greedily betrayed the generosity of taxpayers. State and federal authorities should give the public an update in the case as soon as possible.
The headline late last month instead announced new accusations in Wildwood. Marc Pfeiffer of the Bloustein Local Government Research Center at Rutgers University has said the generosity of New Jersey’s $3 billion State Health Benefits Plan offers opportunities for fraud. Three city officials allegedly availed themselves of a familiar old form.