Sen. Kennedy wants ineligible Medicaid recipients to pay back benefits

U.S. Senator John Kennedy
U.S. Senator John Kennedy(KNOE)
Published: Feb. 26, 2019 at 1:31 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Tens of thousands of Louisiana Medicaid enrollees told they earn too much to stay in the program have a month to prove otherwise if they want to hang onto the health insurance.

Louisiana's health department sent letters this month to 37,000 Medicaid recipients notifying them they will lose the taxpayer-financed insurance coverage.

The agency says those people have until March 29 to present information demonstrating they meet Medicaid income requirements or they'll be ejected from the program at March's end.

Medicaid Director Jen Steele told a legislatively created task force Tuesday she couldn't estimate how many people ultimately will lose their coverage.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy says he intends to ask federal Medicaid officials to try to recoup any money spent on Louisiana enrollees who shouldn't have received the coverage.

In a news release sent to KNOE, Kennedy has the following to say:

“LDH only admitted to the problems with the income eligibility of thousands of Medicaid recipients after repeated questions from The Associated Press. Sadly, this isn’t the first time Louisiana’s Medicaid program has been caught with ineligible people on the rolls. Just last year, the Legislative Auditor’s Office estimated that Louisiana likely misspent $85 million on Medicaid recipients whose income levels should have disqualified them,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Edwards administration fought tooth and nail against legislation that would have allowed the Auditor’s Office to use tax returns to verify Medicaid recipients’ eligibility. LDH should put out a welcome mat for the Auditor’s Office. Medicaid is funded through the generosity of the American taxpayer. Every single penny in funding is sacred. That’s why I plan to ask CMS Administrator Seema Verma this week what can be done to recover the money that’s been lost to waste and incompetence.”

The release also says Kennedy will ask the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to recoup misspent money from Medicaid patients and determine what went wrong.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)