Groups tell Medicaid commission to cut fraud, not benefits

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Advocacy groups told the Medicaid Commission this week to consider budget cut proposals that focus on fraud and abuse in Medicaid rather that eliminating benefits for low-income individuals.

The comments occurred during the commission's first meeting Wednesday. Its first task is to submit at least two proposals to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for cutting $10 billion from Medicaid over the next five years. The proposals are due to the department by Sept. 1.

Some commission members expressed concern about the short timeframe to consider Medicaid proposals and suggested seeking an extension for the Sept. 1 deadline. But panel Chair Don Sundquist and Vice Chair Angus King said the group should stick to the deadline so that Congress can consider the recommendations later in September.

In written statements to the commission, two groups criticized the $10 billion in budget cuts as arbitrary and not mandated by law.