EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 21, 2012

Editorial: Fear of ‘barriers’ leaves MassHealth open to fraud


“I realize that MassHealth has a very difficult job to do to maintain access to folks that experience a lot of job and residency instability. At the same time you’ve got to weigh that against the finite number of public dollars that support this program,” Bump told the news service. “I urge MassHealth to find a better balance.”

For defenders of the status quo, there’s always good reason to do little. When it comes to stopping fraudulent use of state benefits, the concern is “barriers.”

Bump’s audit suggested that MassHealth officials should ask for driver’s licenses, utility bills or other proof of residence for applicants for benefits.

But according to Dr. Julian Harris, the state’s Medicaid director, such requirements might raise barriers for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

So the fear that someone, somewhere might be denied a ride on the benefits gravy train means the entire program must remain open and vulnerable to waste and fraud. That’s ridiculous.

Can’t show a driver’s license or a utility bill because you’re homeless and don’t drive? Fine, get a letter from the chief of police attesting that you live under a bridge or a note from the soup kitchen director saying you eat there every day. Just get something, anything, that proves you live in Massachusetts.

Is that too much to ask for the privilege of having your health care provided by the state’s taxpayers?

There’s already millions of dollars in fraud from the early stages of mandated health care in one medium-sized state. Wait until Obamacare rolls out nationwide and hundreds of billions get stuffed down the health-care pipeline. It is reasonable to expect that the level of fraud will be in the billions.

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