The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Eligibility Check Reveals Massive Medicaid Problems in Oregon

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.

Oregon attracted national ridicule in 2013 and 2014 as its state-run online Obamacare exchange, Cover Oregon, epically failed to sign up even one person for coverage, despite a federal grant of $303 million.  The fiasco was so colossal that the state gave up completely and had the federal government take over its enrollment for the next year’s sign-up period. 

Now, Oregon is again in the headlines after another embarrassing healthcare debacle: 55,000 Oregonians have been kicked off the state’s Medicaid rolls after they either failed to respond to an eligibility check or they no longer qualified for the program.  The Cover Oregon disaster and the huge expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare had caused a backlog of eligibility checks, and when this backlog was resolved, 48 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries were found to be ineligible.  The numbers were not much better during Oregon’s previous eligibility checks, which tended to reveal that 28 percent of enrollees were ineligible, still a staggering amount.  Just under 1 million Oregonians are covered by Medicaid.  These figures indicate that the number of enrollees who do not qualify is in the hundreds of thousands.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion should take note of numbers like these.  A program that erroneously covers huge numbers of ineligible people should be corrected before it is expanded.

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