Sunday 18th November 2018

U.S. Senate panel investigating ‘soaring’ Medicaid costs in Illinois, 7 other states

U.S. Senate panel investigating ‘soaring’ Medicaid costs in Illinois, 7 other states

  • Illinois News Network
Medicaid restructure
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ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

The soaring costs of Medicaid expansion in Illinois and seven other U.S. states is under investigation by a U.S. Senate committee.

Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent letters Wednesday to Gov. Bruce Rauner and the governors of the other seven states asking about the increasing costs that “go far beyond” initial projections.

“Federal Medicaid expenditures totaled $246 billion in fiscal year 2009, increased to $299 billion in fiscal year 2014 and are projected to rise 96 percent to $588 billion by 2025,” Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said. “A primary cause of this increase is the ACA Medicaid expansion. Current CMS and other data show original Medicaid expansion per-enrollee spending and overall enrollment projections were significantly understated.”

The letter to Rauner says the costs of Medicaid expansion in Illinois exceed initial estimates by 90 percent.

“Costs per enrollee are also surging in Illinois, going from $1,867 in 2014 to $5,854 in 2015 – a 214 percent single-year increase,” Johnson wrote. “I am seeking to better understand these rising costs and higher-than-expected enrollment, especially in states where costs or enrollment are increasing especially quickly.”

Johnson asked Rauner to provide information about new Medicaid enrollees in Illinois in 2016 and 2017, an explanation for why enrollment is increasing significantly faster than expected, why the per-enrollee costs increased significantly, and what the state’s eligibility thresholds are.

Illinois state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said he supports Johnson’s probe.

“He’s doing the right thing,” McSweeney said. “That’s been the major problem with our budget, Medicaid and pensions. The Rauner administration should be leading the way on waivers” and other reforms, such as “tightening eligibility requirements, vouchers for Medicaid as an alternative, and work requirements depending on the circumstance.”

McSweeney said the state also should conduct an audit of its current Medicaid rolls to eliminate fraud.

“I want to make sure we are taking care of the truly needy,” but Illinois can’t afford the rapidly increasing costs, he said.

The other U.S. states that received similar letters are California, West Virginia, New York, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan and Hawaii.

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