Here’s $85 Million In Louisiana Medicaid Waste For You…

…courtesy of a report issued today by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office – which has been blowing whistles on the rampant fiscal hemorrhaging which has been going on even before Gov. John Bel Edwards’ unilateral decision to expand the Medicaid rolls by a half-million people.

Louisiana’s Department of Health may have spent up to $85.5 million on Medicaid recipients who are ineligible for the program, an audit report released Tuesday shows.

Health department Secretary Rebekah Gee said her agency has new technology in place effective Tuesday that will “increase the accuracy of eligibility decisions” in the future.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s report said his auditors used Louisiana Workforce Commission data to evaluate a sample of Medicaid recipients from the Medicaid expansion population.

“We found that LDH’s current process of using wage data at application and renewal to determine the eligibility of the Medicaid expansion population is not sufficient,” his report said.

Auditors determined, based on the sample taken, that the state may have spent between $61.6 million and $85.5 million for Medicaid recipients who didn’t qualify at some point during their Medicaid coverage.

What this sounds like is that you can sign up for Medicaid, then get a job which pays better than the upper limits of Medicaid coverage, and unless you’re honest/dumb enough to actually tell the Louisiana Department of Health about your new income you’ll never get caught.

It’s a system set up to be easily scammed – and to incentivize the scammers to continuously vote for one particular political party which resists any efforts to end the scam, and not for a particular political party which makes such efforts.

Did you think that LDH made a serious effort to address the fact that some of their Medicaid recipients might be upwardly mobile enough to no longer qualify for Medicaid? Seriously?

They’re smart enough to envision something like that happening. They willfully neglected to address it. Because the goal is to sign up as many people for Medicaid as possible and to maintain those rolls. Not to insure the taxpayers’ money is protected from waste. And why? Because it’s a 3-to-1 federal match, and so for every dollar of the Louisiana taxpayer’s money you can waste you’re rewarded with three of the federal taxpayer’s dollars.

So if somebody is making $90,000 per year, by all means keep them on Medicaid.

Until Daryl Purpera comes along and spoils the party, that is.

Gee said the agency’s new automated system will be able to access Louisiana Workforce Commission data as well as other wage data to make eligibility decisions.

“The department’s process for determining Medicaid eligibility has been a very manual and time consuming process based on income information provided by applicants,” Gee said in a press release. “Effective today, the department has launched a new automated system for Medicaid eligibility and enrollment that will improve customer service, boost efficiency and increase the accuracy of eligibility decisions.”

Gee said the new Medicaid eligibility and enrollment system uses advanced technology to ensure benefits go only to those who meet eligibility and program requirements.

“The system will connect with state and federal databases to provide more data for real-time verification of citizenship, income, disability and lawful presence in the United States,” the agency said in a press release. “In addition, it enables consistent enforcement of policy, with timely, automated coverage terminations for non-compliance.”

The agency said ineligible recipients identified in the audit will be issued “closure notices”  and asked to provide proof of their current income.

Yeah, sure. And next year John Bel Edwards will run for re-election on how LDH’s new automated system will be stopping all the fraud in the system because he’s a big pal of the taxpayer.

Doesn’t take a genius to see this coming a mile away. What it takes is a dunce to fall for it the first time.

UPDATE: Sen. John Kennedy weighs in on Facebook, and he’s not complimentary…

Gov. Edwards’ Department of Health (LDH) is lazy and incompetent. It’s Common Sense 101. You need to check a person’s income if they’re on the Medicaid rolls. It’s the same story every time LDH gets caught not doing its job. They assure us they’ll do better and recover money, but it’s always empty promises. Taxpayers deserve better.

UPDATE #2: And Rep. Ralph Abraham also weighs in…

This report is another sign that Gov. Edwards has no interest in actually making the Medicaid program work properly; he only cares about how many people he can put on the government healthcare rolls, regardless of whether they’re even eligible for the program. Louisianians deserve better than him wasting tens of millions of their hard-earned tax dollars on these improper payments, especially since the Governor has raised their taxes to help foot the bill.

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