Medicaid providers who owe taxes facing crackdown
Senior senators from both parties want stepped up enforcement and new laws after some Medicaid providers were found to owe large amounts of unpaid federal taxes. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, recommended both steps after a recent Government Accountability Office report that he requested found about 7,000 providers that were reimbursed $6.6 billion for treating Medicaid patients owed at least $791 million in federal taxes from 2009 or earlier. Levin urged levies on healthcare providers’ Medicaid payments and on Medicaid payments to managedcare organizations whose doctors or other principals owe taxes, as well as new authority for the federal government to bar providers with unpaid taxes from enrolling in Medicaid. Federal law does not prohibit providers with unpaid federal taxes from enrolling in or receiving payments from Medicaid, according to the GAO report. However, the Internal Revenue Service can seize Medicaid reimbursements to satisfy a provider’s tax debt.