The federal government could be leaving billions of dollars on the table by not going after Medicaid providers who funnel money into luxury cars, mansions and other perks instead of paying taxes, according to a new report from Congress investigative arm.
The Government Accountability Office looked at seven states and found that more than 30,000 providers who are reimbursed through Medicaid, or about 5%, accounted for more than $1 billion in unpaid federal taxes. Whats more, the GAO said that figure is likely far short of the actual dollar amount because some providers have understated their income or not filed tax returns.
A sampling of 25 providers, whom the GAO picked for further investigation, showed that many of them deliver poor care and also are involved in criminal activities. Despite their track record, the selected providers received Medicaid payments that ranged from $100,000 to about $39 million in fiscal 2006, the GAO said.
The CMS does not prevent healthcare providers with tax debts from enrolling in or receiving payments from Medicaid. In fiscal 2006, outlays for the Medicaid program totaled about $324 billion, with about $185 billion being paid by the federal government.
The seven states reviewed were California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. -- by Matthew DoBias
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