Billions of taxpayer dollars spent on ineligible Medicaid recipients

Billions of taxpayer dollars were spent last year on people who received Medicaid benefits but weren’t eligible.

A report with the U.S. Government Accountability Office said it was in part because there wasn’t enough oversight or cross-checking among agencies.

It found almost $12 billion were improperly spent on ineligible Medicaid recipients.

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Undercover testing revealed three out of eight applications with incorrect social security numbers were getting approved.

"It can be quite easy to submit a fictitious application and get coverage," GAO Health Care Director Carolyn Yocom said.

Medicaid is one of the largest sources for funding healthcare in the country with more than 72 million people enrolled.

"This is a really important program for low-income and medically needy people,” Yocom said. "Every dollar that goes the wrong direction is a dollar we don't have to provide the services that people need."

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Not everyone who was ineligible and received coverage committed intentional fraud. Some didn’t qualify for Medicaid because of administrative issues like missing a deadline.

A Senate committee was held this week to address the wasted funding for the Medicaid Program.

"If we can't stop eligibility errors today, this safety net for millions of elderly and disabled may not be there for future generations,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said.

The GAO report calls for better collaboration between the state and federal agencies that oversee Medicaid.

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