December 19,2016

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Hatch, Murphy and Pitts Press CMS for Details on Oversight of Medicaid Expansion

Bicameral Leaders Question Whether Critical Medicaid Dollars Have Been Accurately Spent
WASHINGTON, DC – Bicameral leaders today sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt seeking answers to help Congressional leaders and state officials better understand how CMS has been approaching Medicaid expansion policies under Obamacare. The letter was signed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Subcommittee on Health Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA).

The House and Senate leaders want to be sure that federal dollars are not being wasted under such a vast expansion. Under current law, Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion allows states to expand their Medicaid eligibility to non-disabled, non-elderly adult individuals under the age of 65 making less than $16,394 (138 percent of the federal poverty level). The health law provided additional federal funding for the expansion population, with the federal government covering 100 percent of the expenditures for the new Medicaid recipients through 2016, and less each year until 2020 and beyond under current law.

CBO recently estimated that about 7 million Medicaid enrollees receive coverage in the program due to the individual mandate, while additional analysis suggests that the previously uninsured newly eligible adults accounted for only one-fifth of the coverage increase through Medicaid in 2014.

“This year, total federal-state Medicaid outlays are expected to be about $545 billion. Next year, enrollment and program expenditures are anticipated to increase and states will have to begin chipping in for the cost of Medicaid expansion,” wrote Hatch, Murphy and Pitts.

Committee leaders formally asked questions of the Acting Administrator of CMS that have remained largely unanswered by the Obama administration. Specifically, the leaders sought to ascertain whether or not CMS has been properly overseeing the integrity of federal expenditures for Medicaid expansion enrollees - raising questions about increased per capita spending for individuals enrolled in Medicaid expansions and the role of other federal programs. This is important because if CMS’s oversight of Medicaid expenditures is lax, incorrect categorization of enrollees could improperly increase outlays and inflate enrollment numbers.

Click HERE to read a copy of the letter.