Full Medicaid denial sought

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At least one high-ranking lawmaker is pushing to cut off Medicaid funding to providers who have unpaid taxes.

“The federal government ought to prohibit healthcare providers with unpaid taxes from enrolling in Medicaid ... and authorize tax levies on Medicaid payments to managed care organizations whose doctors or other principals are tax delinquent,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said.

His outrage was stoked by a federal report showing that as many as 7,000 providers owed at least $791 million in federal taxes from 2009 or earlier.

At the same time, the providers received a total of $6.6 billion in Medicaid reimbursements, a Government Accountability Office report found.

The GAO examined providers in Florida, New York and Texas. It was not specified whether skilled nursing facilities were among the providers investigated by the GAO, but nursing organizations were cited in the report.

More than 40% of the unpaid federal taxes discovered to be owed by providers were payroll taxes.

Providers with unpaid taxes are not banned from receiving Medicaid payments, according to the report. But the Internal Revenue Service can seize Medicaid reimbursements to satisfy a provider's tax debt, investigators noted.
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