(KMOV) -- The early findings of an ongoing review of the Illinois Medicaid program revealed that half the people enrolled weren’t even eligible.
The state insisted it’s not that bad but Medicaid is on the federal government’s own list of programs at high risk of waste and abuse.
Now, a review of the Illinois Medicaid program confirms massive waste and fraud.
A review was ordered more than a year ago-- because of concerns about waste and abuse. So far, the state says reviewers have examined roughly 712-thousand people enrolled in Medicaid, and found that 357-thousand, or about half of them shouldn't have received benefits. After further review, the state decided that the percentage of people who didn't qualify was actually about one out of four.
"It says that we've had a system that is dysfunctional. Once people got on the rolls, there wasn't the will or the means to get them off,” said Senator Bill Haines of Alton.
A state spokesman insists that the percentage of unqualified recipients will continue to drop dramatically as the review continues because the beginning of the process focused on the people that were most likely to be unqualified for those benefits. But regardless of how it ends, critics say it's proof that Illinois has done a poor job of protecting tax payers money.
“Illinois one of the most miss-managed states in country-- lists of reasons-- findings shouldn't surprise anyone,” said Ted Dabrowski.
Dabrowski, a Vice-President of The Illinois Policy Institute think tank, spoke with News 4 via SKYPE. He said the Medicaid review found two out of three people recipients either got the wrong benefits, or didn't deserve any at all.
We added so many people to medicaid rolls so quickly, we've lost control of who belongs there,” said Dabrowski.
"So, we've got to get these rolls cut to those who are qualified as they promised,” said Senator Haines.
Reviewers have only examined the cases for one out of every four people receiving Medicaid in Illinois, but the state has already dropped 176,000 people from the program.