MISSOURI MUST CRACK DOWN ON MEDICAID ABUSE
August 8, 2006
This year's state budget includes more tax dollars for Medicaid than any other in Missouri's history. Improving the system so that it provides higher quality care for less money is essential. Moreover, programs must be carefully designed to prevent the fraud and abuse that are bankrupting the state, says Governor Matt Blunt.
Before enacting necessary changes, program misuse and abuse was allowed to strip resources from services intended for the most vulnerable citizens. One example was the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program:
- It was initially projected to cost $6.3 million per year to provide participants access to reduced-cost medical assistance while they were working.
- Instead, fraud and abuse drove program costs to $251 million per year, 42 times what was originally planned.
- Creating a new transitional benefit with similar goals as the program for disabled workers; it would eliminate barriers for those who hold jobs and rewards those who made a legitimate effort to work without opening a floodgate of abuse.
- Passing strong legislation aimed specifically at Medicaid fraud; it would build on the $139.7 million in savings already uncovered and corrected by aggressively working to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in the broken system.
The legislation's opponents claim the bill is too harsh, says Blunt. One argument is that the bill will go after well-intentioned doctors who make a mistake. This is not true. The legislation is clear that we are going after those who knowingly commit fraud, not those who make innocent mistakes on paperwork, says Blunt.
Medicaid fraud is stealing. It should be treated as the crime it is and dealt with in a serious manner, says Blunt.
Source: Matt Blunt, "Missouri Must Crack Down on Medicaid Abuse," Kansas City Star, August 8, 2006.
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