With Medicaid 'broken,' the fight will go to fraud, waste

HHS Secretary Price: Duplication, redundancies and waste will  be targeted by regulators.
HHS Secretary Price: Duplication, redundancies and waste will be targeted by regulators.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., called the Medicaid program “broken” and said it needed a stronger focus on fighting fraud and waste during a House subcommittee hearing in late March.

Price told lawmakers one of his agency's top priorities will be curbing waste and abuse in Medicaid and Medicare.

President Donald Trump's budget blueprint  — which included a $70 million increase in funding for the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program — supports HHS' mission to tackle fraud, Price said.

House Democrats and their Senate colleagues have criticized Trump's budget and its proposed cuts from HHS, which would likely serve as a blow to the National Institutes of Health's research and public health efforts. 

Price maintained that the cuts wouldn't harm NIH or the agency, instead creating “a budget that focuses on things that work and decrease the areas where there is duplication, redundancies and waste.”

The administration largely supported new regulations proposed by HHS, made final in April, that included tighter scrutiny of those who sign up outside of the open periods for Affordable Care Act plans. Also included is cutting the open enrollment period this fall for 2018 coverage from three months to six weeks.