Edwards and Gee scramble to distract from scandal-ridden Medicaid expansion
(Baton Rouge, LA) – After months of explosive audits, widespread reports of fraud, and contentious committee hearings, Governor John Bel Edwards and Dr. Rebekah Gee are working frantically to cover up the disastrous mistakes made by the Governor when he expanded Medicaid in Louisiana without any checks on fraud and waste. The result was all too predictable!
Most recently, Dr. Gee retreated to the safety of the “Opinion” section in Louisiana newspapers, where she was permitted to present her revisionist history, free from outside questions, offering absolutely no support for her claim that “Medicaid expansion comes at no additional cost to taxpayers because it is paid for entirely with federal funding and fees paid by Medicaid insurance companies and hospitals,” alleged Dr. Gee.
No additional cost to taxpayers?
Where exactly do you think the federal government gets its money?
No additional cost to taxpayers? Next year, Dr. Gee’s budget is set to increase by almost $1 billion dollars of taxpayer money . Under Dr. Gee, the Louisiana Department of Health has the largest budget of any state agency, accounting for almost HALF of Louisiana’s state budget.
“My top priority is to ensure every dollar spent goes toward providing health care to people who need it most,” said Dr. Gee.
Your TOP priority? Actions speak louder than words.
A legislative audit found in FY17 the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) spent $477,266 from the Medicaid Fraud Fund for salaries that DID NOT meet the intended purpose of contributing to the prevention and detection of Medicaid fraud and abuse.
To determine whether these salaries were properly funded by the Medicaid Fraud Fund in accordance with state law, the audit team reviewed the job descriptions for these employees. The auditor noted that prevention and detection of Medicaid fraud and abuse were NOT listed as job duties for several positions.
In the Internal Audit department of LDH, only two of the eight salaries paid from the Medicaid Fraud Fund, had job descriptions with duties associated with the prevention and detection of Medicaid fraud, and none of the positions were 100% associated with Medicaid fraud activities.
Dr. Gee attempted to blame outdated job descriptions and said they were not reflective of the true work performed by the internal audit staff. However, the audit analyzed the 20 projects performed by the LDH Internal Audit section in fiscal year 2017 and determined that 15 (75%) had no Medicaid fraud component. The audit also found that the salary associated with one of the three legal positions did not meet the statute’s intended purpose for expenditures.
The result of Dr. Gee’s intentional disregard of fraud prevention in the Louisiana Department of Health has led to obvious results. Fortunately, Attorney General Jeff Landry has focused on Medicaid fraud during Dr. Gee’s tenure at the Department of Health.
The unilateral decision by John Bel Edwards to expand Medicaid without any of the measures taken by most other states to prevent fraud and waste, coupled with Dr. Gee’s ineptitude and poor leadership, has already cost Louisiana taxpayers MILLIONS. Making matters worse, the Edwards Administration is not just turning a blind eye to this problem, they have actively opposed efforts to combat Medicaid fraud! John Bel Edwards killed legislation last year that would have allowed tax data to be shared by the Attorney General, the Legislative Auditor, and LDH in their efforts to combat Medicaid fraud.
Actions speak louder than words!