government

Lawmakers target unintended Medicaid eligibility

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 25, 2011

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A measure introduced July 18 by Sen. Mike Enzi (R, Wyo.) would close a loophole in the national health system reform law that will allow about 3 million middle-class retirees to enroll in Medicaid when the program's eligibility expands in 2014.

The reform law excludes a large percentage of a person's income from the Medicaid eligibility calculation, in contrast with other federal programs. The loophole allows retirees who earn up to $58,840 annually, including their income from Social Security, to sign up for Medicaid. Enzi's bill would end that discrepancy, as would a companion bill introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R, Tenn.) in the House.

"As our leaders struggle to find common ground to address our nation's debt and spending, this proposal represents an area of savings where there is a rare opportunity for agreement on both sides of the aisle," Enzi said.

Closing the loophole would save the government about $13 billion over a decade. The loophole was revealed by Richard Foster, chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in a June article by The Associated Press.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/07/25/gvbf0725.htm.

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