JLARC Report: Tens of Millions Unnecessarily Spent on Medicaid
A Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report released Monday highlighted some inefficiencies of Virginia’s Medicaid program.
Medicaid costs keep rising, so a new study of Virginia’s program has identified ways to cut millions of dollars out of the yearly budget.
A watchdog agency, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, made dozens of suggestions to state lawmakers. This report finds annually tens of millions of dollars go to unnecessarily high pharmacy bills, hospital and emergency department visits.
Now GOP lawmakers say they will consider new ideas to control spending, they also heard the the details of the latest Medicaid study.
"This report shows that we still have a lot of challenges, there's still a lot of work to do to improve our Medicaid system in the commonwealth of Virginia," said Delegate. Steve Landes, R-25th District.
Nonpartisan staffers recommended capping profits for insurance companies that manage care. They also said legislators could consider limits on the program's eligibility.
"The short- and long-term impacts to the state budget and to recipients would depend on exactly what changes were made and these impacts should be fully explored before making any policy decisions,"said Jeff Lunardi, JLARC report project leader.
Another proposal is to have higher-income families on Medicaid pick up a share of the costs.
The two-year study came up with at least 35 recommendations for improvements to Medicaid. Republican lawmakers say they feel vindicated.
"This whole study was fought tooth and nail because it was not going to find savings according to the administration, and it did, and I think it was very justified," said Delegate Kirk Cox, R-66th District:
"We were told that, 'we've done everything we can do,'" said Landes.
But not all aspects of this report were negative. In one instance Medicaid takes up more than a fifth of the state's general funds, and it is not growing as fast as other health care programs.
Spending per patient has also remained flat in recent years when accounting for inflation. Another burden on the state has been that in recent years hundreds of thousands of Virginians registered for Medicaid either because they just became eligible or learned they were.
Now lawmakers will review these proposals and consider bills heading into the legislative session in January.