SPRINGFIELD — When politics trump prudence, you get Illinois paying $12 million in Medicaid bills for dead people.
Republican state Rep. Patti Bellock, the House GOP point person on Medicaid, told Illinois Watchdog she isn’t all that surprised Illinois was spending money on patients who are no longer living.
“We should have never stopped the (private review of Medicaid). It was the most successful thing any state has ever done to stop fraud,” Bellock said.
The state found more than 50 percent of those Medicaid cases examined were not eligible for coverage, but Illinois ended its private review of the nearly 3 million people enrolled in Medicaid earlier this year.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees sued the state, claiming it should be handling the multi-million dollar job of scrubbing Illinois’ Medicaid rolls.
Bellock said it was “pure politics” that lead Gov. Pat Quinn to give AFSCME the job — and the jobs — of taking over the Medicaid review.
The revelation that the state is paying for dead Medicaid patients didn’t, however, come from that review.
The Associated Press discovered the payments.
Top Democrats say they are “concerned,” but also believe some of the people may have been alive when they went to a doctor and simply passed away before the bill was submitted.
Bellock said Illinois will likely never know, because the review of Medicaid has been sacrificed to politics.
“We should have never stopped (the private review),” Bellock said. “It was huge and we should have continued. If we don’t pursue waste, there is going to be more fraud.”
Contact Benjamin Yount at Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find him on Twitter @BenYount.