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Oregon Health Authority Says Medicaid Recipients May Still Be Eligible

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</w:LatentStyles></xml><![endif]--><!-- [if gte mso 10]><style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;	mso-style-noshow:yes;	mso-style-priority:99;	mso-style-qformat:yes;	mso-style-parent:"";	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;	mso-para-margin-top:0in;	mso-para-margin-right:0in;	mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;	mso-para-margin-left:0in;	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;	font-size:11.0pt;	font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";	mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;	mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";	mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;	mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}</style><![endif]-->Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson spoke surrounded by blank voter registration forms, which were meant to represent inactive voters.</p>

Chris Lehman

/

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson spoke surrounded by blank voter registration forms, which were meant to represent inactive voters.

The Oregon Health Authority is fighting assertions from the Secretary of State that it’s spending millions on health benefits for ineligible people.

The problem stems from the collapse of the state's health exchange, Cover Oregon, in 2014.

Health authority spokesman Robb Cowie said the agency knew it didn’t have fully accurate data, so it got permission from the federal government to pause enrollment.

Cowie said OHA started making sure everyone on Medicaid was eligible last year, and it’s completed about 740,000 cases so far.

“We are at the conclusion of the plan to wrap-up that process," Cowie said, "but we still have some work to do.”

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson told lawmakers this week that the health authority may be sending as much as $37 million a month to ineligible recipients.

But the authority says all recipients were eligible for Medicaid at some point and just because that eligibility hasn’t been redetermined, doesn’t mean they won’t still qualify.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.