GAO: Medicaid providers owe more than $1 billion in taxes

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While government committees today are taking a closer look at nursing home quality, a separate Senate panel this week took up a report about Medicaid providers who owe back taxes.

A report from the Government Accountability Office released this week found that more than 30,000 Medicaid providers in seven states owe the federal government more than $1 billion in unpaid federal taxes for fiscal year 2006. The Medicaid audit focused on nursing homes, hospitals, doctors and other providers in seven states. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing on the report on Wednesday.

Federal law does not prevent healthcare providers who owe back taxes from enrolling in Medicaid, the report said. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid spokesman Jeff Nelligan said that the objectives of the GAO report "were based on big misconceptions about the authority and responsibilities of the Medicaid program."