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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