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Obamacare for illegal aliens? HHS provides free medication to lawbreakers

A US Boarder Patrol agent arrests illegal immigrants near the Mexican border. (David McNew/Online USA)

~~By Jim Kouri~~

While millions of United States citizens are in the process of losing their healthcare insurance and being forced into participating in the bureaucratic fiasco known as Obamacare, American taxpayers annually dole out huge sums to medically treat illegal aliens. One example is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spending tens of millions of dollars to give them free prescription drugs, according to a report on Tuesday from a nonpartisan government watchdog group.

Federal health care benefits are not allowable for services provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General Daniel Levinson.

According to Judicial Watch, a non-profit organization that investigates and exposes government corruption, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has specifically implemented a policy that bars Federal payments for health care services provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries in Medicare Parts A and B. An individual is eligible for Part D benefits if he or she is entitled to Medicare benefits under Part A or enrolled in Part B and lives in the service area of a Part D plan. Thus, Federal law prohibits Part D payments for prescription drugs provided to unlawfully present beneficiaries.

CMS doesn’t have a policy addressing payments for unlawful beneficiaries under Medicare Part D that was equivalent to the existing policy that covers payments for these beneficiaries under Parts A and B.

Without such a policy, CMS incorrectly treated unlawfully present beneficiaries as eligible for Part D benefits and did not prevent Part D payments on behalf of them. Because CMS did not have such a policy, it did not have internal controls to identify and disenroll unlawfully present beneficiaries and to automatically reject PDE records associated with them, according to the Inspector General’s report.

“In all, CMS blew $29 million to cover Medicare Part D prescription drugs for 4,139 “unlawfully present” individuals that did not qualify for the benefit, according to an HHS Inspector General report. This occurred during a two-year period between 2009 and 2011,” according to Judicial Watch.

Even more disturbing to Judicial Watch officials is the fact that earlier this year CMS paid more than $90 million to health care providers to cover 2,600 ineligible illegal aliens.

“A 1996 law specifically prohibits illegal immigrants from getting federal healthcare benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid yet it continues to occur, despite audits exposing the violations. How? Because CMS doesn’t have policies and procedures that could enable it to detect such ‘improper payments,’” according to an HHS Inspector General’s report released in January 2013.

“That means Americans will likely continue paying exorbitant amounts to provide illegal aliens with services banned by federal law. The prescription scandal involves Medicare Part D, a voluntary program that requires qualified beneficiaries to enroll in the federally approved prescription drug plan by completing paperwork,” the Judicial Watch report states.

Supposedly CMS uses information from the Social Security Administration to verify eligibility, but the audit reveals this: “CMS did not have a policy addressing payments for unlawfully present beneficiaries under Medicare Part D that was equivalent to the existing policy that covers payments for these beneficiaries under Parts A and B.” That means the agency doesn’t have “internal controls to identify and disenroll [sic] unlawfully present beneficiaries.”

“In a nutshell, it appears that the Health Department’s watchdog is essentially saying that there’s nothing the feds can do about this. The lost money cannot be recovered and the inspector general simply suggests the obvious: to develop and implement controls to ensure that Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs for unlawfully present beneficiaries,” said Judicial Watch officials.

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