Allowing states to determine Medicaid eligibility based on food stamp receipt encourages further fraud, eligibility errors, improper payments, and waste in the program. Worst of all, this Obama-era guidance is siphoning away limited taxpayer resources from the truly needy who actually qualify for the program.
CMS’s previous letter specifies that guidance allowing food stamp recipients to auto-enroll in Medicaid was meant to be for a “temporary period” and would be rolled back in the future. The Administration should pull down the old guidance and send updated instructions stating that the temporary time period for enrolling individuals into Medicaid based on food stamp eligibility has ended.
Program integrity should be a top priority, and updating eligibility rules is the first step in reining in improper spending and protecting resources for the truly needy. This would be a natural next step, as the Administration has also proposed a rule to strengthen the integrity of the Medicaid eligibility determination process through redetermination and verification processes. The Trump administration can—and should—crack down on Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse by ending this loophole.