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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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ENDING THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN MINNESOTA'S MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

Thursday, April 21, 2016

For those who continue to believe all of our tax dollars are well spent and that there is no evidence of government waste, you may recall a recent report from the non-partisan Office of the Legislative Auditor stating that, for the second year in a row, Medical Assistance program fraud appears to be running rampant in our state.

 

Taking a sample from January to May 2015, the audit analyzed 157 cases where people utilized MNsure to join either Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. The OLA found that in 59 of those cases – 38 percent – the residents were not qualified for the coverage they were receiving. 44 of them shouldn't have qualified for any coverage at all.

 

Projected over all who enrolled in that timeframe, auditors estimate between 81,000 and 132,000 residents were either ineligible or placed in the wrong healthcare program, costing Minnesota's taxpayers between $115 million and $271 million.

 

We now have two consecutive verified years of money being blown, while the Department of Human Services (DHS) continues to assure us the findings are overblown and that everything is under control. On this topic, Democrats have been no help – in fact one of them called the first findings “pixie dust and unicorn poop.”

 

This is just pure incompetence, and if we allow it to continue, lawmakers will have crossed the line in support of institutional corruption.

 

I have a new bill that would end this fraud. It requires DHS to fully implement the legislative auditor’s recommendations on how to fix this continued waste. Once adopted, it must respond quarterly to the legislature on case reports as well as financial savings. The money saved would then be deposited into a special “5% Campaign” account, which would give raises up to five percent to those who work with the disabled and vulnerable adults. Leftover funds would continue to accrue without legislative action.

 

When Illinois decided to tackle medical assistance abuse, it recognized a savings of $300 million. 

 

The good news is my provision has been included in a supplemental House health and human services budget bill, so it is moving forward.

 

Common sense tells us we should ensure that the people who are receiving help from our very generous medical assistance programs should actually be eligible to receive it. This bill allows us to figure out who is ineligible, save the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and provide pay raises to those caring for the disabled.

 

Now is the time to end the culture of corruption.