December 7, 2017

Cassidy, Cornyn, Toomey Introduce Bill to Prioritize Medicaid Patients Over Lottery Winners

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced the Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Over Lottery Winners Act, legislation that would help ensure states are able to focus Medicaid assistance on the most vulnerable by dis-enrolling people who win the lottery.

“As a doctor who served Medicaid patients for decades, I understand how important the program is to the elderly, Americans with disabilities, and others in need,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Medicaid program should prioritize the people who need help the most, not lottery winners. That’s only fair to taxpayers and the patients who truly rely on it.”

“Closing this loophole will ensure states are able to focus their Medicaid dollars on those most in need of assistance, not on high-dollar lottery winners,” said Cornyn. “This bill will give states the ability to disenroll someone who receives a high-dollar lump sum payment while also ensuring impacted individuals facing potential medical hardship can keep their assistance.”

“I commend Senator Cornyn for introducing this measure to improve the integrity of Medicaid and help ensure taxpayer resources are going to those who need them most,” said Toomey.

Under current Medicaid regulations, large lump sum payments, such as lottery winnings, are counted as income only in the month received. As a result, states are effectively not allowed to dis-enroll lottery winners from Medicaid. This forces taxpayers to bear the burden of lottery winners’ health care benefits.

The bill would close the current loophole by requiring states to count monetary winnings from lotteries of $80,000 or more as if they were obtained over multiple months, even if obtained in a single month, for purposes of determining individual’s eligibility for a state Medicaid program under Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) rules. Impacted individuals could continue to be eligible for medical assistance if denial of eligibility would cause undue medical or financial hardship.