Medicaid payments come under Congressional scrutiny

Minnesota is the focus of a Congressional probe into the way it distributes Medicaid money--a potential issue in other states, reported the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

A particular focus of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is a $30 million payment to the state by UCare, one of the four companies that provides Medicaid managed care to the state's enrollees. The money was supposed to cover some operating deficits, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The payments could be part of $500 million in total overpayments to statet's Medicaid program, based on the estimates of former Minnesota Hospital Association attorney and whistleblower David Feinwachs, according to the Star Tribune.

"It appears that federal taxpayers, who finance over half of Minnesota's Medicaid program, were cross-subsidizing state-only health insurance programs," read a portion of a letter from three Republican Representatives who sit on the House Oversight Committee, the Pioneer Press reported.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said the state has done nothing wrong, but conceded that prior Medicaid contracts were "too generous with the taxpayers' money," according to the Star Tribune.

Meanwhile, New York was recently accused of overpayments to Medicaid providers, according to the New York Times.

Amid the scrutiny, federal lawmakers are trying to find savings in the $457 billion Medicaid program, particularly as it expands as part of healthcare reform.

(The original version of this article said the Minnesota Medicaid program paid UCare $30 million. It was the other way around).

To learn more:
- read the Star Tribune article
- here's the Pioneer Press article
- read the New York Times article