Arkansas has paid more than $1.3 million in Medicaid dollars to ineligible recipients since 2009, according to an audit released Friday that a top Republican lawmaker said shows the pressing need to reform the $5 billion healthcare program for the poor and disabled.
But the governor and officials from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, which oversees the state's Medicaid program, said the cases reviewed by legislative auditors represented only a small fraction of the roughly 776,000 people in the program.
The findings were part of a report released by the Division of Legislative Audit that had been delayed after DHS officials complained it was being prematurely released and that an early version used questionable methodology to paint the program in a negative light.
According to the report, the error rate among a sample of recipients reviewed by auditors increased from 3.2% in 2011 to 14% in 2012. Auditors reviewed the eligibility of more than 1,100 Medicaid recipients since 2009.