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The Missouri Attorney General's office has stepped up its enforcement of Medicaid fraud, with tangible results for taxpayers.

As we reported Sunday, the office recovered more than $25 million for state taxpayers through Medicaid fraud convictions.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt's office obtained 30 indictments and completed 29 convictions through it's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). The unit's two main objectives are to probe allegations of fraud by Medicaid members and investigate/prosecute abuse or neglect in Medicaid-funded facilities.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 4 this year, the agency recovered $10,012,400 from offenders, compared to just $220,800 last year. Also, civil settlements recovered $15,205,300, compared to $9.1 million last year.

One multi-state civil settlement was with Walgreens and its parent company for $269.2 million. It involved distribution of unneeded insulin pens and concealing from Medicaid lower drug prices it offered in a discount program.

Total Medicaid spending was $557 billion in fiscal year 2017 with 62 percent paid by the federal government and 38 percent financed by states. Despite the strong economy and a decline in Medicaid enrollment in 2019, states' total Medicaid spending actually increased in 2019, according to Modern Healthcare.

Medicaid is the biggest program for medical and health-related services for low-income residents in the United States. As of 2017, it used public funds to provide health insurance to 74 million people, nearly a quarter of all Americans.

It's unfortunate people would essentially steal taxpayer money designed to help the poor. But the reality is any program with that much funding is rife for fraud. For that reason, it makes sense to put a strong focus on fraud prevention.

We commend Attorney General Eric Schmitt and his office for stepping up its anti-fraud focus and ensuring our taxes earmarked for Medicaid are well spent.

News Tribune

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