More than 30,000 people in Louisiana have been booted from the Medicaid program, after an upgraded state computer check determined they earn too much to receive the taxpayer-financed health insurance.
Nearly all of those removed from the system are non-elderly adults enrolled through the Medicaid expansion that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards enacted in 2016.
An upgraded computer system identified those who were deemed ineligible for Medicaid coverage, and the state then sent out more than 40,000 income verification letters. The new system does quarterly eligibility checks, rather than previously performed annual checks, and uses more wage data for comparison.
Louisiana’s Medicaid system was upgraded after Republican officials and Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera raised concerns that the program, paid for with a mix of nearly $13 billion in state and federal dollars, wasted millions on people who shouldn’t be receiving the coverage.
Purpera’s office released a report in November that projected Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion program may have spent as much as $85 million over 20 months on people who weren’t eligible for coverage. Democrats have criticized the methodology used by auditors. But the Edwards administration and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees the government health insurance coverage, also said the computer system change was expected to help address Purpera’s findings. Read the full story.