Malliotakis: Medicaid Redesign Team Does Little to Address Fraud

March 3, 2011
Assemblywoman Malliotakis speaks at the Health/Medicaid budget hearing in Albany
At today's Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Medicaid, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-Brooklyn, Staten Island) expressed her disappointment that the Medicaid Redesign Team submitted only one proposal pertaining to Medicaid fraud. This proposal is expected to save nearly $80 million.

"It is upsetting that, despite reports estimating 10% or $5 Billion of New York's Medicaid spending goes to waste, fraud and abuse, only one proposal from the Medicaid Redesign Team addresses the problem," said Malliotakis. "The state of New York spends 24% more in Medicaid than California, yet California has 17 million more residents. Clearly, something is wrong."

"I am concerned that efficient and effective programs, such as Early Intervention, are going to fall victim to across-the-board Medicaid cuts solely because other parts of the system are bloated with fraud and abuse."

In addition, Malliotakis pointed to the removal of the Resource Asset Test in 2009, which eliminated reviews of an individual's assets prior to granting Medicaid coverage.

"It seems to me that this was an effective tool in identifying who is truly deserving of Medicaid," said Malliotakis. "By doing away with the asset test, anyone can apply based on personal income, regardless of the property they own or their assets.

When pressed on the elimination of the asset test, Medicaid Inspector General James Sheehan pointed to the administrative paperwork related to the program as the reason for its sunset.

"I find it odd that, in a state government riddled with inefficiency, we would all of a sudden be concerned with trimming bureaucracy and red tape when it comes to rooting out Medicaid fraud," said Malliotakis. "Perhaps if we did a better job at preventing abuse in the Medicaid system, New York would not find itself mired in such a deep budget crisis."