Energy and Commerce: #SubOversight Examines Medicaid Expansion
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing examining the expansion of the Medicaid program under Obamacare.
The Medicaid program faces serious challenges – skyrocketing costs, reports of fraud schemes, and eligibility determination errors are just a few of the problems plaguing the program and threatening health care services for those who need it the most. Given these challenges, today’s hearing served as a check-up to see if the program is appropriately serving the most vulnerable.
Witnesses offered testimony showing how the federal matching rate provides more funding for individuals who are newly eligible, while providing less funding for traditional Medicaid populations – low income children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.
In a series of questions to Ms. Carolyn Yocom, Director of Health Care at GAO, Chairman Murphy askedabout Medicaid eligibility determination errors based on a GAO report from last fall and CMS’ freeze on measuring eligibility determinations from Medicaid. When asked what this freeze means, Ms. Yocom said, “It means we’re relying on an error rate that’s about three or four years old… And that we don’t right now know what’s going on with the eligibility determinations.”
Mr. Josh Archambault, Senior Fellow, The Foundation for Government Accountability, testified citing the “nearly 600,000 individuals [who] sit on waiting lists for Medicaid services.” In several lines of questioning, some Democrats raised concerns about these wait lists. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) reiterated the importance of this figure, saying it emphasizes the need to ensure that the program dollars are being spent to serve the most vulnerable populations.
Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) inquired about the Medicaid program being branded as “high-risk” since 2003, asking where that categorization came from. Witness from GAO and HHS OIG both cited the lack of data as the chief problem. Both Ms. Yocom and Ms. Ann Maxwell, Assistant Inspector General, Office of Evaluation and Inspections, HHS OIG, indicated that the lawmakers could expect to see some new work in the future regarding how better data can be collected and how to account for beneficiaries who may have been previously eligible.
A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast of the markup can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here.
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