Jun 12 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today pointed to the Louisiana Medicaid program’s $400 million in savings from income eligibility checks as further evidence that more widespread checks are needed of taxpayer-funded programs.
Both Sen. Kennedy and Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-La.), have introduced legislation to reduce fraud in taxpayer-funded government assistance programs – including Medicaid, food stamps and welfare - by requiring states to use federal tax information to verify income eligibility. Louisiana purged thousands of people from its Medicaid rolls after income verifications showed they earned too much money to qualify for the program.
Sen. Kennedy also called on the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) to look into whether some Medicaid recipients purposely lied to the state about their income. News reports indicate that more than 1,600 Medicaid recipients brought in minimum earnings of $100,000 in 2017.
“Government assistance programs like Medicaid are funded through the hard work and generosity of American taxpayers. These programs should only benefit those who truly are in need. People with six figure salaries shouldn’t be on Medicaid,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Simple income checks unfortunately revealed waste within Louisiana’s program. Even worse, some of the waste may have been because of deliberate fraud. The state should legally pursue anyone who lied about their income. The legislation that Rep. Abraham and I filed will eliminate similar waste across the country. We need to make sure that not a single penny of taxpayer money is wasted.”
“The Medicaid savings show what can happen when the government simply checks whether someone should be on Medicaid in the first place,” said Rep. Abraham. “There’s absolutely no reason that your tax dollars should be wasted on people who don’t really need the help. Sen. Kennedy and I have been saying this for months: Checking eligibility before doling out benefits is basic common sense, and that’s why we’ve been working to pass legislation to make it an across-the-board practice.”