Senate Republicans Push Audit For Medicaid Program
In one of their boldest breaks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Republicans today called for an independent investigation into the financings of the state’s costly Medicaid program while also pushing for a look into allegations of complacency in the Office of the State Medicaid Inspector General.
The investigation comes after a report from Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a report detailing alleged waste and abuse within the Medicaid program in New York that found the state is misspending billions of dollars. That report also claimed the Medicaid inspector general James Cox — who Cuomo appointed last year — has “gone adrift” and is not aggressively probing problems within the system.
“We have a very tight budget deadline and a multi-billion dollar federal Medicaid waiver hanging in the balance,” Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said in a statement. “We must act quickly to prove that we are working to get our Medicaid system under control. An immediate, independent audit of the entire state Medicaid system is imperative. These are serious allegations against OMIG, and as authors of the law that created that agency, we have an obligation to determine if OMIG is failing to do its job, as cited in the federal report.”
The conference plans to hold a joint roundtable meeting of the Senate Health and Investigations Committees — led by Skelos allies Sens. Kemp Hannon and Carl Marcellino — to investigate Cox’s office and the charges of complacency.
Cuomo annonuced this week that the state’s budget needed an extra $500 million after the federal government determined the state had been overbilling for services for the last 20 years, which Cuomo in a news conference announcing his 30-day amendments called a “dispute.”
The governor said he was taking $120 million out of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and an additional $380 million in changes to the state’s Medicaid cap in order to readjust for the extra $500 million.
The same report from Issa’s committee found New York had reported $15 billion in excessive Medicaid costs.
The call for the investigation in the state’s Medicaid program comes as the Senate GOP is showing signs that it is growing weary of its relationship with the popular and powerful governor. Republicans in the chamber momentarily balked at approving Cuomo’s Court of Appeals nominee, Jenny Rivera.
At the same time, the conference is wary of approving his women’s equality legislation, which is expected to include an abortion and reproductive rights provision.
Senate Republicans had taken political heat from its conservative base over passing Cuomo’s sweeping gun control law in January.
A report from Republican Rep. Darrel Issa this month found that the state had reported $15 million billion in excessive Medicaid costs over the last several decades.
New York spends $54 billion annually on its Medicaid program, the most of any state in the nation.
Update: I’m reminded the state Republican Party earlier called for a Moreland Act Comission to investigate the state Medicaid program.
“If Cuomo means what he said about reforming Medicaid, he made a serious mistake by replacing a junkyard dog Medicaid Inspector General with a pet poodle,” said Cox.
“Cuomo was all too eager to launch a Moreland Commission to investigate LIPA after Hurricane Sandy in order to channel New Yorkers’ frustrations with storm readiness away from his office, but if he really has the interests of New Yorkers in mind, and not politics, he’ll appoint a Moreland Commission to scrub Medicaid clean from top to bottom and put in place a restructured, clean and affordable Medicaid system for New York,” GOP Chairman Ed Cox said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on February 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm, and is filed under Republicans, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|