U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann came to the state Capitol on Tuesday to call for increased transparency for the state’s $8 billion-per-year Medicaid program.
“It’s a lot of money and we don’t find out where it is being spent,” Bachmann said at a press conference. “That is simply, bottom line, unacceptable.”
It was the not the first time that the Republican congresswoman has weighed in on the state’s Medicaid program. Bachmann held a similar press conference in February of last year.
Tuesday’s gathering was prompted by the release of an audit last month by the Segal Company. It determined that Minnesota had overpaid the health plans that administer Medicaid programs — primarily Medica, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, UCare and HealthPartners — by at least $200 million over the course of a decade. The audit also determined that the Minnesota Department of Human Services failed to collect paid claims data, which means essentially that there was no way to determine whether the state was paying a reasonable amount for the medical services provided.
“That is just ripe for abuse and misuse and waste,” said state Sen. Sean Nienow, who has been among the most vocal critics of Medicaid spending. “The hard-working taxpayers of Minnesota were over-paying.”
On Wednesday, a joint meeting of the Health and Human Services Policy and Finance Committees, is scheduled to scrutinize the state’s Medicaid program. The Segal auditors are expected to testify at that hearing.