Sen. Coats delivers 50th Waste of the Week speech
Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, on Wednesday delivered his 50th Waste of the Week speech and highlighted $85.5 billion in improper Medicaid payments paid out from 2014-2016. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicaid’s improper payment rate averaged almost 10% annually over the past three years. In 2015, Medicaid had the second highest improper payment rate in the entire federal government. Earlier this month, HHS put out an “alert” that Medicaid’s improper payment rate for 2016 is expected to jump to 11.5%. Coats said that even though Medicaid has routinely been identified as a “high risk” for potential waste, problems with improper payments are only getting worse. Coats said persistent problems lie within HHS’ data systems for identifying and validating Medicaid and Medicare providers, which HHS directs states to use to help ensure that those Medicaid providers receiving payments are actually eligible. Bureaucratic mismanagement has enabled providers to obtain Medicaid payments when they are not even medically licensed in a state or when they don’t even practice in the United States.
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