A messy patchwork of state systems is causing massive improper Medicaid payment rates

The federal government doled out nearly $100 billion in what it calls “improper” Medicaid payments in 2021 — accounting for approximately one-fifth of all Medicaid payments, according to estimates.

The figure represents Washington’s latest accounting of payments that didn’t meet the various requirements for the Medicaid program, which the federal government runs jointly with the states and allows millions of low-income people access to healthcare.

The numbers were similarly high in 2020, with around $86.5 billion in Medicaid payments deemed improper, or just over 21%.

The figures have sparked
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