Legal questions raised about Medicaid project

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Legal questions are being raised about a pilot project for Vermont’s Medicaid health insurance program.

Lawyers for the U.S. General Accounting Office say the program, known as the "Global Commitment to Health," may violate federal law.

Two years ago, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department authorized Vermont to set up its own managed care organization for Medicaid beneficiaries.

The managed care organization provides health coverage to the poor and elderly at reduced cost. The savings are supposed to be reinvested into other programs that the federal government typically doesn’t pay for.

The issue is an agreement between the Vermont Human Services Agency and the Vermont Office of Health Access, which runs the managed care program.

GAO lawyers question whether that legally qualifies as a "contract."

The GAO says the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary should re-examine whether the terms of the Global Commitment need to be modified or whether the law needs to be changed.

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