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 WydenHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data Democratic senator introduces bill to jail tech executives for lying about privacy violations Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs MORE (Ore.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Trump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech platforms MORE (N.J.), call for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of the requirements, which are becoming increasingly common under President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' 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.

 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.