SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 23, 2012

Our view: Fear of barriers leaves MassHealth open to fraud

(Continued)

“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 benefits means the entire program must remain open and vulnerable to waste and fraud.

That’s ridiculous.

A driver’s license, utility bill or other proof of residency is not too much to ask for the privilege of having your health care provided by the state’s taxpayers.

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