Does anyone in Springfield understand numbers?
August 8, 2013, Commentary By MIke Fak, Sometimes I get scared when I read what is going on down in Springfield. I get scared that I am the only person in the world who understands math and since everyone at the capital doesn’t seem to have a problem with their numbers, maybe it is I who am goofy and not all of them. I guess for now I will let all of you decide who lives in an alternate universe and who lives in reality.
In the story yesterday by Ben Yount, Ben reported the state has hired a Virginia based consulting firm to double-check Medicaid rolls for cheaters. Why a governor who sends out a press release when he creates one new part time job didn’t hire an Illinois firm hasn’t been explained. It can’t be because no one in Illinois can look at a file and check to see if someone is eligible. It’s not hard. Check Social Security number, tax forms, income level, yes or no and that file is done: Next.
In the story Yount wrote that Illinois lawmakers had hoped to save $350 million by double checking Illinois’ 2.7 million Medicaid patients, and removing those who don’t qualify.
Now it looks like it might not save us a dime. And it might actually cost us money.
Illinois will spend about $78 million to have Maximus, a Virginia-based consulting firm, review the Medicaid program. That number is absurd on so many levels I can't wrap my mind around how lawmakers could approve this. We are looking at checking paperwork. This doesn't take a consulting firm and it sure doesn't need to be 1200 miles out of state. And never in a million years should the price tag be anywhere near $78 million.
Maximus has analyzed about 195,000 cases and recommended Illinois remove more than 101,000 residents from Medicaid.
So far in 2013 HFS has decided to cancel 43,662 Medicaid cases, while keeping or changing 84,967 people. HFS still has to act on another 65,000 or so cases.
But even someone who has been removed from Illinois’ Medicaid program is not completely cut off.
Over the last five years or so, on average 25 percent to 33 percent of the people disenrolled return to Medicaid within three months,
So we can’t do a simple job ourselves and we can’t take notes of who should be rejected when they reapply. But we did get a chance to send $78 million to Virginia from our checking account which has no money in it.
AFSCME has sued asking why those jobs checking the Medicaid roles couldn’t be done by Illinoisans who would then spend money in their hometowns and pay taxes back to Illinois. That a great question someone in the governor’s office needs to answer. But maybe they’re too busy studying third grade math.