Many states have recovered money from corporations after whistleblowers reported Medicaid fraud. The federal government would increase Medicaid supplemental payments to West Virginia by 35 percent, provided the state adopted a false claims law as strong as the federal government's, Burns said.
"It's legislation that promises to bring millions of dollars from the federal government," he said.
Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, who opposes the bill, predicted that consumers take a hit, if lawmakers pass a false claims act.
"It's really going to cost taxpayers," Sobonya said. "The product may go up in price to pay for that settlement litigation."
Delegate Cindy Frich, R-Monongalia, criticized Burns, questioning his motives for supporting the bill. Frich noted that Burns' Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is largely funded from trial lawyers who stand to gain financially from false claims bills.
"Why do you care about West Virginia?" Frich asked.
Burns said out-of-state corporations have defrauded West Virginia and other states for far too long.
"They're not here to help people get clean water and better jobs," he said. "This is money that was ripped and robbed, and it all goes out of state.
"The truth of the matter is fraud doesn't create jobs. Fraud costs people jobs."
The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill later this week or early next week.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.