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Corbett considers potential savings in Medicaid

HARRISBURG — Over the next two months, Republican Gov.-elect Tom Corbett will examine potential savings in the state’s Medicaid program identified in an audit by Democratic Auditor General Jack Wagner, a Corbett spokesman said today.

“One thing he’s consistently said is, ‘We can find savings in the current budget,'” said Kevin Harley, Corbett’s campaign press secretary. “And one of the key areas to look at is the Department of Public Welfare.”

Corbett takes office Jan. 18.

With the state facing a deficit of as much as $5 billion next year, Wagner today touted the audit his office conducted more than a year ago, because of new figures he obtained. With final numbers from county asssistance offices, Wagner said the error rate in Medicaid is 15.5 percent. He previously it at 14 percent.

Even a 10 percent correction would yield $436 million for the 2011-budget and $1.9 billion over four years, Wagner said.

The errors essentially are overpayments to managed care companies after people leave the Medicaid program.

“(The Welfare Department) must stop this money from going out to insurance companies for thousands of people who are no longer eligible for this program,” Wagner said. “We can save hundreds of millions of dollars witout cutting benefits, simply by preventing improper payments.”

An estimated 2.1 million elderly and low-income Pennsylvanians rely on Medicaid for health insurance.

“It is a vital program and it is also a poorly run program because of DPW’s steadfast refusal to manage it properly,” Wagner said.

Harley said Corbett would “take a look at some other audits collecting dust in this administration, to see where we can save money.”


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