Medicaid and SNAP Fraud

Did you know that even though jobs are more accessible and the economy has been better over the last decade that more people have been getting on Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps)? That isn’t usual. I am all for it if people truly need the temporary help but this WSJ article tells a different story.

I saw the changes firsthand as commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration. It used to be a given that before enrolling an applicant in a means-tested program, administrators would ensure that his income was low enough to qualify. We would later verify our findings using other data sources to see if the applicant had earnings he hadn’t reported on his application. And there was a required “asset test” to make sure that the public wouldn’t get stuck paying for health insurance for property owners who tried to game the system.

But over the past decade the federal government has streamlined the application process in an effort to enroll as many people as possible. Regulators have told states they no longer have to run many of these checks, and have even prohibited states from requiring certain tests. As a result, people who once would have been caught underreporting their income are now slipping through, and more people receive benefits than are truly eligible.

In Louisiana, for example, it was found that out of 100 people examined who were getting Medicaid and SNAP, only 18 really qualified. Hmmm. I guess the 2013 issue brief from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services touting “simplified, real-time verification”: “Eligibility will be verified primarily through self-attestation” made things really easy to lie.

This administration hasn’t fixed this yet which is ridiculous. I am NOT against the safety net of Medicaid or SNAP. I am against those who abuse the system. The people who LOSE, with this fraud, are the people who truly need it because the money will run out and then they will suffer.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  1 comment for “Medicaid and SNAP Fraud

  1. Randy
    December 26, 2018 at 8:58 am

    “Did you know that even though jobs are more accessible and the economy has been better over the last decade that more people have been getting on Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps)? ”

    That’s an interesting question. When unemployment goes from over 10% to less than 5% you would expect a decrease in the need for SNAP and Medicaid, yet when any kind of decrease in anticipatory budgeting for these items is proposed it’s painted as cruel. As your post implies it’s become as much of a political football as it is guided by economics. If the WSJ article is accurate fraud is almost invited.

    I read an article that was critical of ACA enrollments dropping. Well isn’t that what you would expect as more people have insurance through their employers? We never see those numbers, we just have politicians bloviating and the media writing easy stories instead of digging.

    And I am with you, I want the safety net for all that need it and none that don’t.

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