Auditor may soon have access to records to determine Medicaid eligibility

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Members of the influential House Committee on Ways and Means debated access to taxpayer data on Monday. (Photo credit: Lauren Heffker, LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Lauren Heffker, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: May 6, 2019

A House committee voted on Monday to approve a bill that would give Louisiana’s legislative auditor access to taxpayer data to verify Medicaid eligibility.

The bill, part of a Republican effort to tighten management of the program, advanced 11-3 to the full House.

Rep. Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville, sponsored the bill. A similar proposal died in committee last year.

This year’s bill would give the state auditor access to income tax data to help detect fraud in Medicaid enrollment. Similar legislation exists in 35 states.

At the heart of the partisan debate are arguments about citizens’ information privacy and state government oversight of social welfare programs.

Edwards, a Democrat, has stressed the importance of keeping the federally funded Medicaid Expansion program, which provides health insurance for low income residents.

Republicans and the legislative auditor have attacked the health department’s management of the program. The department recently kicked 30,000 people off the rolls, saying that some of them earned over $100,000 a year.

“We found thousands of people that make between $50,000 to $80,000,” Bacala said. “We’re not taking from the poor. We’re taking people off the rolls who have been stealing from the poor.”

Read more in The Advertiser.

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