Maryland, one of the nation’s most liberal states, is now indebted to the federal government for $115.3 million in overpaid Medicaid grants.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at a news conference in Baltimore, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, to unveil the first of several shipments of fossilized oyster shells that are part of a public-private partnership to help rebuild habitat in oyster sanctuaries on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Over the next nine months, over 100,000 tons of shells will be shipped by train from a Florida quarry to Maryland in a partnership with CSX. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
The state increasingly known for its heavy taxing and spending policies, and more recently for having a troubled health care exchange website that almost mirrors the federal problem, obtained more Medicaid money than it spent from fiscal year 2009 through 2011, according report by the by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Inspector General.
The title of the report is “Maryland Withdrew Excessive Federal Medicaid Funds for Fiscal Years 2009 through 2011.”
TheBlaze called a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene but did not get a response as of this writing. However, the department’s Secretary Joshua Sharfstein responded in a letter to the IG, objecting to the title, but agreeing with the findings of the report.
“The State concurs that $115,331,662 should be refunded,” said a letter from the Maryland’s Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Joshua Sharfstein. “During the period of time reflected in the audit, several reconciliation errors caused federals funds to be drawn in excess of the federal matched supported by CMS-64 reports. However, these errors did not alter the underlying integrity of the state constitution, nor did they substitute for state funds.”
Chief among those recommendations was “refund $115,331,662 to the federal government,” along with better monitoring on the part of the state to ensure that withdrawals are accurate.
“The state agency obtained Federal Medicaid funds for FYs 2009 through 2011 that were not supported by expenditures,” the IG report says.
Maryland obtained $12.88 billion in grants from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but spent $12.76 in expenditures, the IG found.
This is one of a series of state audits that the HHS IG will be doing. Under the Medicaid joint federal-state program that provides free health coverage for the poor, states estimate their quarterly Medicaid spending, which generally determines the amount of their grant. If the state underestimates the amount needed in a quarter, it can request more federal dollars. If a states makes receives grants in excess of the estimate – as Maryland did – the IG report says a state is expected to “reduce a future withdraw by the difference.”
Maryland didn’t do that.
It also comes as Maryland – one of the states that decided to establish its own health care marketplace under the Obamacare law – has had numerous problems with the Maryland exchange website for purchasing plans.
Since Gov. Martin O’Malley was first elected in 2006, Maryland has enacted two dozen tax hikes, legalized gay marriage, provided in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, and has been one of the lowest rated states in job creation. The leanings of the state have even prompted a group of citizens in the more conservative western side of the state to talk about secession and starting a new state.