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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Illinoisans are all-too familiar with jokes about cemeteries full of voters. But the dead are also receiving Medicaid benefits

What else would you expect from democrats? Well, it is the state where Obama was weaned on politics!

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Illinoisans are all too familiar with jokes about cemeteries full of voters. But, according to a recent audit, the dead are also receiving Medicaid benefits.

National news outlets reported recently that the state made Medicaid payments to health-care providers on behalf of nearly 3,000 deceased Illinoisans under the Medicaid program. The federal-state program, which is supposed to provide medical services to the state's indigent and medically needy, paid $12 million for services for people listed as deceased.

Not only does this feed into the stereotype of a corrupt and incompetent state government, but this "news" is just the tip of the iceberg. At every turn, state bureaucrats have fought and hindered efforts to scrub the state's Medicaid rolls.

The state of Illinois has been using a private contractor to scrub its Medicaid eligibility rolls, but the firm was blocked by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Only halfway through the project, the firm found that 40 percent of Illinois’ Medicaid enrollees were ineligible for the program. It was estimated that the private contractor’s Medicaid scrub could have saved Illinois taxpayers $350 million per year.

The reason the private firm was sought in the first place was that the state was failing to verify Medicaid eligibility, a fact confirmed by the state’s own auditor general.

Recent attempts to pass legislation that would continue Medicaid eligibility verification were thwarted in the Illinois General Assembly and there is little reason to believe that there is true commitment within Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration to end what appears to be a rampant waste of taxpayer dollars throughout the state's Medicaid program.

Illinois expects 430,000 new Medicaid enrollees by the end of the year as a result of ObamaCare. If the state has been inept at verifying eligibility up to this point, one has to wonder how much more bloated the program will become under the federal health-care overhaul.

Illinois has received yet another black eye in the national media for the state's mismanagement and failure to protect both its taxpayers and most vulnerable citizens. The saddest part of this entire episode is that it is entirely self-inflicted.

Naomi Lopez Bauman
Director of Health Policy

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