Focus Point - Medicaid Waste

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. A new report from the General Accounting Office shows how money meant for Medicaid gets wasted by incompetence and what almost smacks of fraud.

The GAO charges that hundreds of millions of Medicaid dollars -- originally intended for disabled poor children -- are being funneled improperly to consulting firms.

The report accuses school districts of overstating their Medicaid costs in order to pay consulting firms to help them prepare and submit Medicaid claims -- a violation of federal rules.

The consultants fees equal 10 to 25 percent of federal Medicaid money they get for schools. The lure of money encourages schools to file questionable claims. Since state officials have started using schools more and more to deliver Medicaid benefits, the consultants now identify children eligible for Medicaid and help them enroll.

This story is disturbing, but it's typical of so many so-called entitlements: the money doesn't get to the people who need it because the layers of bureaucracy are more intent on feathering their own nests first.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, why local is better.

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