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Governors say feds could owe states $4B for Medicare errors

The National Governors Association is requesting that the federal government reimburse states for Medicare errors that might have cost their Medicaid programs more than $4 billion over several decades.

For 30 years, states say, many Americans with disabilities were denied the Medicare benefits they were entitled to because of errors by the Social Security Administration. In many cases, state Medicaid programs picked up their care — and their tab. 

"The fiscal condition of the states and the tentative nature of the nation's recovery mean that states cannot absorb expenditures that rightfully belong to the federal government," the NGA wrote in a letter sent Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusBiden seeks to use the bully pulpit he has on COVID-19 Biden unveils COVID-19 task force Biden's COVID-19 crisis team takes shape as virus rages MORE. The letter was released on Tuesday. 

"We ask that you work with us to resolve this critical matter this year and in a manner that supports states and their Medicaid programs."

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The federal government has acknowledged the errors and corrected them retroactively, but states weren't paid back. 

In the letter, NGA says money states are owed should be used to pay for their share of the Medicaid program.

"Payment to the states would be in the form of credits to the states to be used as the state share of current Medicaid expenditures," the letter says. "This method of satisfying the federal liability would assure that the federal expenditure for correcting the problem would benefit current Medicaid programs."