While Kansas argues Medicaid Expansion, Biden Administration targets Red State Medicaid systems

While the lines are drawn between Kansas conservative legislative leadership and Governor Laura Kelly over Medicaid Expansion, new evidence is emerging that Biden Administration bureaucrats may have targeted Red States for Medicaid audits and used different assessment criteria against them than they did for Blue States.

 A review of some 3,000 emails and other official documents obtained under a Freedom Of Information Act request by the Watchdog organization Government Accountability and Oversight showed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services used different standards when determining whether state Medicaid records would be audited, and those determinants appeared to depend on whether the state being monitored was dominated politically by Republicans or Democrats. 

States like Florida, Texas and Missouri were targeted for improper use of Medicaid dollars, but according to documents provided to GAO, all states but Alaska use the same type system for raising in-state Medicaid funds and combining them with federal dollars before distributing that funding to providers. These systems involve federally-authorized taxation of health care providers to raise Medicaid funds that are then matched by tax-generated federal dollars. A state’s Medicaid agency then disburses those dollars to providers that treat Medicaid patients, and latitude within the federal guidelines allows states to tweak to certain degree the way they reimburse those providers. Every state but Alaska uses that system to cover shortfalls for providers who provide Medicaid services, but CMS launched investigations only into Red States to see if they were violating those rules.

The records showed the CMS was particularly focused on the State of Florida, who’s Governor Ron DeSantis is in contention to be the next Republican nominee to run for president 

Florida secretary for the agency of healthcare administration noticed audits seem to increase during the same period that DeSantis was tooling his campaign to run for the Republican nomination. No audits were conducted of California, for instance, even though the Golden State has three times as many residents –15 million patients – receiving Medicaid benefits. 

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has made Medicaid expansion, which would lower the bar to add some 150,000 more able-bodied Kansans to the welfare health care program, a priority for this year’s legislative session, although leaders of both the Kansas House and Senate have pledged that the proposal from the governor is “dead on arrival” due to high costs and the threat of limiting care to actual needy patients.

One email obtained under FOIA noted that while other states had a similar system for reimbursement as Florida, at least one staffer noted that he had been instructed by the office of the administrator – a job appointed by the president – that Florida was the only state targeted in a probe. CMS staffers also seemed concerned about tight deadlines for the audit, which Florida officials noted coincidentally corresponded to the election calendar. Also around this same time, President Biden visited Florida and criticized the state’s handling of its Medicare program.

Florida officials also drew attention to the federal agency’s plan to release the findings of the Florida audit just before the Iowa caucuses, and the fact that the emails indicated officials higher up in the administration – management levels which typically wouldn’t be involved in the grunt work of an audit process – appeared to be commenting on the Florida investigation and making special directions relating to it. Email accounts showed high-ranking political hires at the White House within the Domestic Policy Council and in Health and Human Services were directly involved in steering Florida’s investigation.

The audits never found any evidence of wrongdoing in the Florida and Texas audits. Those states are now suing the federal government and CMS to halt the probe.

Kansas taxpayers would be responsible for kicking in an additional 10 percent over their present taxes to pays for Medicaid Expansion under Kelly’s plan. To pressure Republicans into supporting this and other “moderate” measures, Kelly launched a political action committee this year aimed at finding liberal candidates to run against conservatives in the 2024 elections. A similar PAC has been organized by Steve Morris, a Republican and former President of the Kansas Senate, who was exiled from party leadership when conservatives won majorities in both houses.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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George Pisani

I guess I’m the first to comment (lol, AGAIN), so I hope to see others do likewise.

Increasingly, as various branches of government “by and for the Democrats” float out the term “moderate”, it begins to seem a lot like the old “Heads I win; Tails you lose” coin toss.

Voters interested in safeguarding their bank accounts and retirement accounts should not be lulled into taking Kelly’s and Morris’s PACs lightly.

The Southern Border isn’t the only place from which the midwest is being “invaded”. People fleeing the flailing-and-failing high tax states like CA and NY tend to bring with them an acceptance of Left-wing asset redistribution like that currently driving Douglas Co. taxes higher and higher.

Contrary to what the Borg encountered by Star Trek’s Capt. Picard proclaimed, RESISTANCE is NOT futile. Votes matter. The Left knows this; Conservatives tend to be complacent and think “of course we’ll vote.” Not good enough, boys and girls; we all need to get like-minded OTHERS to register and also get to the polls.