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Dems want GAO probe of new requirements to get Medicaid

Dems want GAO probe of new requirements to get Medicaid
© Greg Nash

Two key Democrats are calling for a federal investigation to find out how much it costs the federal government for states to add eligibility requirements to their Medicaid programs.

In a letter to the comptroller general, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: White House acknowledges it will fall short of July 4 vaccine goal | Fauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates | Senate Finance leader releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Flaming shipwreck wreaks havoc on annual sea turtle migration Senate Finance chair releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices MORE (Ore.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneIntercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 House Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms MORE (N.J.), call for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of the requirements, which are becoming increasingly common under President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“If CMS continues to approve work requirements and other restrictions on Medicaid, the consequences could be severe for federal spending and the sustainability of the Medicaid program,” write Wyden and Pallone, the ranking members of congressional committees with jurisdiction over Medicaid.

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 The lawmakers noted that Kentucky is estimated to need $374 million over the next two years alone— mostly in federal dollars—  “to add work requirements and punitive lockouts to its Medicaid program.”

“The public should have complete information about the consequences of proposed Section 1115 waivers to ensure limited taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently, appropriately, and towards the goal of promoting, not obstructing, access to health care,” Pallone and Wyden wrote.

The Trump administration has been approving waivers for states to impose policies like work requirements, lock-out periods, premiums and cost sharing on Medicaid beneficiaries, a sharp departure from the Obama administration. 

To date, Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas have been given the green light from the administration for such policies, and more states are awaiting approval.