Feb 26 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today demanded that the Louisiana Department of Health tell taxpayers how much money was wasted on approximately 37,000 Medicaid recipients who were later found to be ineligible because of their income levels. Sen. Kennedy asked LDH to work with federal officials to recoup misspent money.
The Associated Press reported on Feb. 21 that the state sent letters to thousands of Medicaid recipients after checking income records and finding that they didn’t qualify for the program because they make too much money. The state only admitted to the mass mailing after The AP asked repeated questions. Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to look into audits that showed money was misspent in Louisiana’s Medicaid program. Among their concerns was that people with incomes exceeding $100,000 were allowed to enroll in Medicaid.
Sen. Kennedy will send his own letter to CMS this week based on the news report. He will ask CMS to recoup misspent money from Medicaid patients and determine what went wrong.
“LDH only admitted to the problems with the income eligibility of thousands of Medicaid recipients after repeated questions from The Associated Press. Sadly, this isn’t the first time Louisiana’s Medicaid program has been caught with ineligible people on the rolls. Just last year, the Legislative Auditor’s Office estimated that Louisiana likely misspent $85 million on Medicaid recipients whose income levels should have disqualified them,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Edwards administration fought tooth and nail against legislation that would have allowed the Auditor’s Office to use tax returns to verify Medicaid recipients’ eligibility. LDH should put out a welcome mat for the Auditor’s Office. Medicaid is funded through the generosity of the American taxpayer. Every single penny in funding is sacred. That’s why I plan to ask CMS Administrator Seema Verma this week what can be done to recover the money that’s been lost to waste and incompetence.”