August 22, 2014

A closer look at Medicaid spending

With $5.9-billion-dollars spent this fiscal year, Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs are one of the largest expenditures in the current state budget.

As a result, state Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) is among several lawmakers who want an audit done on that spending. She says there’s nothing more important than making sure those who rely on the programs and the taxpayers who support them are getting their money’s worth.

An estimated 20-percent of Wisconsinites rely on state medical assistance programs. Department of Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake says demand has grown greatly in the past two years, due to the expansion of programs like BadgerCare Plus and high unemployment numbers. She says Medicaid is a safety net program, and this is the role it’s supposed to fill.

However, Lazich says that’s why a sweeping audit of the system is needed. She says it’s hard to believe problems or even fraud aren’t taking place in such a wide reaching program, and the study would help to identify and correct those issues.

The Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee is considering the issue.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)

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