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Lawmaker not surprised Illinois paying millions in Medicaid for dead people

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[April 22, 2014]  By Benjamin Yount

SPRINGFIELD  When politics trump prudence, you get Illinois paying $12 million in Medicaid bills for dead people.

NOT THAT SHOCKED: Bellock says Illinois should never have stopped its Medicaid review.

Republican state Rep. Patti Bellock, the House GOP point person on Medicaid, told Illinois Watchdog she isn't all that surprised Illinois was spending money on patients who are no longer living.

"We should have never stopped the (private review of Medicaid). It was the most successful thing any state has ever done to stop fraud," Bellock said.

The state found more than 50 percent of those Medicaid cases examined were not eligible for coverage, but Illinois ended its private review of the nearly 3 million people enrolled in Medicaid earlier this year.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees sued the state, claiming it should be handling the multimillion-dollar job of scrubbing Illinois' Medicaid rolls.

Bellock said it was "pure politics" that led Gov. Pat Quinn to give AFSCME the job and the jobs of taking over the Medicaid review.

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The revelation that the state is paying for dead Medicaid patients didn't, however, come from that review.

The Associated Press discovered the payments.

Top Democrats say they are "concerned," but they also believe some of the people may have been alive when they went to a doctor and simply died before the bill was submitted.

Bellock said Illinois will likely never know, because the review of Medicaid has been sacrificed to politics.

"We should have never stopped (the private review)," Bellock said. "It was huge and we should have continued. If we don't pursue waste, there is going to be more fraud."

[This article courtesy of Illinois Watchdog.]

Contact Benjamin Yount at and find him on Twitter: @BenYount.

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