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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Finding the cure for Medicaid abuse

Friday, April 19, 2002

"If Medicaid is not monitored and controlled...the system will collapse"

Reports began circulating this week concerning abuses to the Medicaid drug program in Missouri and that points to a weakness in the system within the Division of Social Services. Our hope is that Attorney General Jay Nixon devotes the full resources of his office to address this abuse.

A new state audit has uncovered thousands of cases where Medicaid drug recipients apparently have been obtaining taxpayer-funded drugs and then selling or abusing them. In the past year, nearly 4,000 Medicaid recipients visited five or more doctors and obtained $8.7 million in tranquilizers, painkillers and controlled medications. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Division of Medical Services identified 400 potential abusers yet it took over a year to place restrictions on these abusers. This is simply unacceptable.

As is always the case, the Department of Social Services now says they have implemented a tracking program to monitor potential drug fraud. But where were these tracking programs during the past? Why does it take an audit to uncover abuse before a solution is offered?

The fact of the matter is that Medicaid is a truly expensive program in Missouri. Last year alone, Medicaid recipients in the state received $681 million worth of prescription drugs all funded with taxpayer money. This drain on the state economy has long been a problem and it continues to grow each and every year. The taxpayers of Missouri should demand greater safeguards against this unmonitored fiasco.

I know for fact that there are ample Medicaid recipients who have virtually unchecked access to prescription drugs. They pay no money whatsoever and are provided with the best prescription drugs available. And in many cases, there is no examination, just a request for drugs. A willing physician completes the circle and the taxpayers lose again.

If Medicaid is not monitored and controlled, it will eventually siphon so many tax dollars that the system will collapse. Abuse of the sort uncovered in the audit is the most blatant problem. But believe me, it's just the beginning.

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