In Illinois it wouldn’t come as a surprise if dead people voted, but when dead people receive millions in Medicaid services, that is newsworthy.
A Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press uncovered a shocking memo from the Illinois state auditor. The AP found that the Land of Lincoln spent millions of dollars on medical services for the dead.
The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.
The memo dated Friday, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says the state auditor compared clients enrolled in the Medicaid database last June with state death records dating back to 1970. Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.
Republican Illinois State Senator Dale Righter has been the driving force behind Medicaid reform efforts in the state. Righter said this proves that Democrat claims of thorough Medicaid enrollment cleanup are nothing more than “empty rhetoric.”
Here’s more from Senator Righter:
“It’s disappointing and somewhat enraging for taxpayers, but it’s not surprising,” Righter said. “I wish this administration would spend more time trying to solve the problems rather than trying to convince taxpayers that they’ve already solved them.”
As someone who does not live in Illinois it does come as a surprise to me that nearly 3,000 deceased individuals had medical costs paid for by the state, but maybe it’s politics as usual there.
Illinois Republicans have been calling for an private company to perform an independent review of Medicaid enrollees, something the state has used previously, but Big Labor got in the way.
Republicans have pressed for the state to use a private company to verify Medicaid eligibility. Maximus Health Services was hired to scrub state Medicaid rolls following 2012 Medicaid-reform legislation. Republicans have said the company was achieving a Medicaid eligibility-removal rate of 40 percent.
But the contract between the company and Gov. Pat Quinn ended last year, and the work was shifted to state employees, after the state’s largest public-employee union objected and an arbitrator ruled the contract should end.
Illinois is in a dire financial situation with out of control pension costs and a long history of mismanagement in the state budget. Rooting out fraud and abuse of the Medicaid system could save the state millions and when you’re trying to solve a budget crisis, every little bit helps.
One State Representative said the environment in the Illinois system allows for this kind of mess.
Rep. Patti Bellock, a Hinsdale Republican, who has been pushing for more accountability in the Medicaid system, said conditions are ripe for problems, even though she didn’t anticipate this particular one.
“I’m shocked, but not surprised,” Bellock said.
Taxpayers in the Land of Lincoln should demand a major overhaul of their state’s Medicaid program. As Obamacare pushes more people into government health care programs, the 2,900 deceased people in Illinois who received these benefits could seem like a drop in the bucket of fraud, abuse and mismanagement.