1st District Republican congressional candidate Allen Quist is calling on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to order an immediate audit of the state's Medicaid program. Quist cited a recent U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report that that blasts Minnesota's oversight of its Medicaid program.
"If this report is accurate, then widespread Medicaid fraud is occurring in Minnesota and it may be in the neighborhood of $1 billion a year that is being wasted," he said.
Joining Quist at a Capitol press conference was David Feinwachs, former counsel for the Minnesota Hospital Association who said he lost his job because he raised questions about how Minnesota was using federal Medicaid dollars. He testified at a congressional hearing last month about Medicaid fraud. He accused the state of using an accounting trick to bring in more federal Medicaid dollars and then using those dollars for other programs.
"This is completely unacceptible and as taxpayers we should be outraged," he said.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has launched a federal investigation into Medicaid fraud in Minnesota and across the country. Minnesota's program came to Grassley's attention after the state announced UCare was donating $30 million to the state. The federal government argued it was a reimbursements for Medicaid overpayments and that it should get half of the money. The state ended up agreeing to send half the money to the federal government. Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson has said the problems with the state's Medicaid program stem from contracts with HMOs that were signed during Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration. The department issued the following statement in response to Quist's criticism:
"The Minnesota Department of Human Services welcomes examination of its managed care contracting. DHS supported the recently passed HMO audit legislation as well as the financial audits of the plans currently underway that were ordered by Governor Dayton last year."
Quist said the recent legislation that delays an audit of the state's Medicaid program for two and a half years is simply unacceptable. The St. Peter Republican is running against Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, in the August primary for the chance to take on DFL 1st District Rep. Tim Walz. Quist said there are estimates that addressing Medicaid fraud nationwide could save $100 billion. He said that would go a long way towards trying to solve the nation's ballooning budget deficit.
Click here to Download Medicaid fraud report