- Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) stated, despite state GOP opposition, he will continue to attempt to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program, The Washington Post reported.
- McAuliffe stated his new strategy would allow Virginia would extend benefits to 400,000 Virginians “at no cost to the state,” The Washington Post reported.
- In a separate article, The Washington Post reported a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission audit found the state wasted at least $21 million last year on Medicaid recipients who were no longer eligible for such benefits.
According to the audit, Virginia state policy does not require eligibility workers to search for either unreported income or unreported assets. “In FY 2014, it is estimated that between $21 million and $38 million was spent on benefits for ineligible recipients whose renewals were processed late. Half of these benefits were paid with state funds,” the report noted.
The audit also found the state does not proactively identify assets that could be recovered to offset Medicaid expenses. “The state currently relies primarily on heirs and estate administrators to disclose or self-report the existence and value of assets, creating a conflict of interest because these individuals may stand to inherit the assets if they are not used to reimburse the state for Medicaid expenses,” the authors wrote.
Virginia recovered just $883,000 from 207 estates in FY 2014, the report found.
Medicaid expansion has been an uphill battle between McAuliffe and the state’s Republication-controlled House and this report is no help. In response to his statements, Republications were skeptical of McAuliffe’s “no-cost” Medicaid expansion plan. McAuliffe himself provided few details, The Washington Post reported.
As President Obama remarked in a recent interview regarding Medicaid expansion being opposed by GOP governors and legislatures, “We can’t force them to do it. And it means a lot of people are falling through the cracks and we can’t change the design of the law to reach those folks.”
Laura Synder, a senior policy analyst with the Kaiser Family Foundation, recently told Healthcare Dive, “Maybe it’s just going to take some time for all the states to adopt expansion, but it’s difficult to say – it’s up to each individual state.”