With $19 billion a year spent on taxpayer-funded Medicaid programs and state-employee health insurance plans, Illinois’ governor hopes to root out waste, fraud and abuse.


Gov. Bruce Rauner said the Health Care Fraud Elimination Task Force he created through executive order Tuesday will work over the next year and a half to investigate where taxpayer savings can be found.


Rauner said the state has a moral obligation to find savings.


“Frankly every dollar that we can save in wasteful spending or fraudulent spending in health care is a dollar that we can put into our education system to fund our schools or into our human services to fund our most vulnerable families,” Rauner said.


Rauner said rooting out waste and fraud will help “keep the quality (of health care) high, and in fact, hopefully increase the quality of service while making sure that abuse in the system, fraud in the system, is eliminated so we can save that money and put it into more effective use for the people of Illinois.”


The governor said the task force will study and adopt best practices of state agency fraud-prevention units, federal government and other state governments’ efforts, and measures used in the private sector to root out fraud, waste and abuse. The 12-person task force is composed of various members of the administration.


The governor couldn’t say specifically how much fraud there could be but put the figure in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year. However, according to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, a recent audit removed thousands of individuals listed as dependents from the state-employee group insurance plan, saving taxpayers an estimated $32 million.


(Copyright WBGZ Radio/ www.AltonDailyNews.com)