By Daniel Naydenov
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The federal government has a significant financial interest in the $3 trillion dollar health care industry. Due to limited administrative resources, the government’s biggest allies in the fight against health care fraud are individual whistleblowers who are able to file lawsuits under the False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions and share in the recovery. The Act contains a public disclosure bar to prevent parasitic suits by opportunistic whistleblowers. This Note analyzes two contrasting decisions from the Sixth and Seventh Circuits interpreting who qualifies as the “public.” In both cases, the court was asked to determine whether a health care provider’s self-disclosure of misconduct to the federal government was sufficiently public to bar future suits. Ultimately, this Note argues that the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation is more persuasive and closer to striking the proper balance between incentivizing whistleblowers and inhibiting opportunism.