The last non-budgetary bill was filed late yesterday by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) focusing targeted Medicaid reforms aimed at cutting down on fraud. Remember when Gov. Beebe challenged legislators to find waste, fraud, and abuse within state government? This bill seeks to do just that.
“The bill focuses on reducing fraud in the Medicaid system so that Medicaid tax dollars are spent on legitimate health needs and to prevent criminals from scheming the system,” said Westerman. “Specifically, the bill would require the implementation of advanced provider verification and predictive analytics computer systems to detect and prevent fraud.”
“The bill is needed because we are facing unprecedented increases in Medicaid spending and the future outlook is not promising. This is a proactive solution to reducing taxpayer costs for Medicaid without reducing services for beneficiaries or punishing legitimate providers. The potential savings are significant even if you only believe a fraction of the 9.8% of improper payments that GAO estimated on a national level that costs the federal Medicaid program an estimated $22.5 billion in 2010.”
And we may know the fate of this bill as well as the other non-budgetary bills today. The House Rules Committee meets this morning at 10:00. Clearing this committee is the first hurdle for any non-appropriation bill. This committee is handpicked by the Speaker and leans heavily Democrat, many of whom have stated they would prefer to take up as few non-budget items as possible.
Still Westerman thinks it is an important issue to address and hopes his idea gets a good look even if the bill does not pass.
“Even if the bill fails, I hope it can highlight the significant financial challenges the state will be facing in the future and how little has been done to date to solve this problem,” said Westerman.