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Clay’s Weekly Medicaid RoundUp: Week of April 18th, 2016

Join me on a magical Medicaid movers and shakers tour, this week organized mostly by state and those organized by year they entered the Union (because its interesting) …

THE OLD COLONY STATE (1788) CAN’T TELL THE GOOD GUYS FROM THE BAD GUYS – WHY CAN’T THE BAD GUYS JUST WEAR BLACK HATS LIKE THEY DID IN THE OLD WESTERNS? MA State Auditor Suzanne Bump released a report this week showing about $427k in claims to providers who were supposed to be barred from the Mcd program. Just like the punchline of every research study is “needs further research,” this audit followed the audits script and ended with “insufficient internal controls.” Most of the no-no payments went through MCOs – similar to a report last year showing MCOs paying out $500M in improper payments (not all to barred bad guys, though).

THE HEART OF IT ALL STATE (1803) GETS THE TAB ON LONG NIGHT OUT AT BAR- One of those evil, mean, terrible – dare I say – conservative!?- watchdog sites has started reporting on the costs of Mcd expansion in OH. The Good Guvn’r has swelled spending by $7.9B so far for his expansion efforts. That’s worked out to be about $394M of additional Mcd spending each month since expanding. But don’t worry – everyone knows most of that is not state money, it’s federal money. And we all know federal money grows on the money trees in D.C. Haven’t you seen them lining the streets when you visit the nation’s capital? They bloom each spring, and millions flock to see them. They’re right next to the giant beanstalk that sprung up from one of Jack’s beans. And that, children, is how Medicaid financing works.

THE NATURAL STATE (1836) PLAYS OPPOSITE DAY- AR policitians used a poison-pill maneuver to save the hybrid / private option expansion plan that’s been the darling of dems and the thorn in conservatives’ sides for a few years now. Legislatures shrewdly put in a provision to end the expansion, which the Good Guvn’r Hutchinson vetoed – so by saying no, he said yes to what he and his allies wanted. And the program is thus extended. You have to admire such brilliant tactics.

THE WOLVERINE STATE (1837) IS IN THE MONEY (WELL, THE MCOS ARE ANYWAY)- Reports of skyrocketing MCO profits came out this week, all tied to the new Michigan contracts and expansion. According to one source, MCO profit grew 627% when the state took the ObamaCare deal. The state health plan association targets a 2% annual profit margin; the surge in underwriting income now has it at 3.9%. Not to worry – association execs assure us that this “double the target” profit margin is helping to make up for lean years past.

THE LONE STAR STATE (1845) GETS A CIVICS LESSON- If you’re following the TX Medicaid cuts ordered by the legislature (apparently that’s some sort of branch of government elected by “popular vote” that still has some amount of power, but truthfully I was always taught in government school that Judges rightfully run this country), you know that there have been a few stands in the courthouse door to stop the agency from following the law. Thursday saw an appeals court uphold the cuts, frustrating activist hero Judge Sulak, who remains convinced he gets to decide what TX does with all that Medicaid money, not those pesky “elected representatives.”

FARRIS’S FANTASTIC FRAUD FOLLIES– Just not enough space this week my fraudster friends. Lots of good stories in the twitter feed for those who need their fix.

That’s it for this week. As always, please send me a note with your thoughts to clay@mostlymedicaid.com or give me a buzz at 919.727.9231. Get outside (spring planting is done!) and keep running the race (you know who you are).

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