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 WydenDemocrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Top Democrat demands answers on election equipment vulnerabilities MORE (Ore.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Energy: USDA expected to lose two-thirds of research staff in move west | EPA hails Trump's work on reducing air pollution | Agency eyes reducing inspections of nuclear reactors Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE (N.J.), call for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of the requirements, which are becoming increasingly common under President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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.