100,000+ Improperly Get Pa. Med Benefits

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare testified that hundreds of thousands of individuals were improperly receiving Medicaid, taxpayer-funded health care for the poor and the disabled. Capitolwire writes:

[Executive Deputy Secretary Tim] Costa said the Corbett administration inherited a backlog of more than 154,000 cases requiring eligibility review. Those cases included people who had things change in their life that could impact their eligibility for Medical Assistance (MA). [subscription]

Some of those life changes were pretty significant, with Medical Assistance checks going to the deceased (about 4,000 individuals) and those who moved to another state.

Simply enforcing eligibility standards dropped Medicaid rolls by more than 100,000 in the last three months, saving taxpayers tens of millions of tax dollars. Most of the $200 million in fraud and waste the department must find by the end of the fiscal year will come from Medicaid. However, officials warn savings will be slow to accrue, given the difficulty in recovering false payments already made.

This is the third hearing on welfare waste and abuse this fall. The first one highlighted wasteful spending on luxuries such as hot tubs and bowling alleys. The second hearing focused on how to hold service providers accountable, ensuring the services taxpayers are funding actually help the disabled.