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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jeremy Munson (R)

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REP. MUNSON: MORE SMOKE AND MIRRORS FROM DHS ON $29 MILLION OVERPAYMENTS TO TRIBES

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

[ST. PAUL, MN, Tuesday, October 29, 2019] - Representative Jeremy Munson spoke out today in response to the report released by the Office of the Legislative Auditor on overpayments made to the Leech Lake and White Earth Bands, over-reimbursing them for drug treatment programs. The state may be on the hook for the $29 million owed back to the Federal Government since the Tribes so far have refused to repay the money.

Said Munson, “This report reveals the complete lack of controls at DHS for who knows how long. It sounds like pretty much anybody in the organization could set a policy that could wind up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. How would you feel if you received an invoice from someone claiming that you owed them money, much more than previously agreed to, but they couldn’t provide any documentation?”

He continued, “Moreover, this is the same agency that big government legislators just gave an estimated $20 million per year, or $200 million over the next ten years, to communities and organizations to fight opioid addiction. There is also the money that HHS will get when the state settles a lawsuit with the pharmaceutical companies for potentially much more. How can we be sure that the money will be spent correctly and that they will not be making up the rules as they go while ignoring fraud and abuse of their programs? Hopefully they didn’t just increase the price of painkillers for cancer patients, when Pharma passes along the cost of the new tax, only to lose it through mismanagement and corruption. We have seen it with Medical Assistance, with Child Care Assistance, food stamps, and Personal Care Assistants.”

He added, “The thing I find even more appalling is the arrogance and lack of integrity of DHS officials when confronted with their failures. As Legislators, we’d better be thinking of other ways to make them pay for this and not reward them for failure and dishonesty.”

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