An audit agency within the Montana state government is causing a headache for other legislative spending priorities. The accounting agency found the medicaid budget has a liability(debt). As the state wants to get bonds to spend on other projects, the agency is halting those attempts because they need the state to announce this growing liability.
Montana’s $80 million bonded infrastructure program – approved by lawmakers in 2019 for the first time in a decade – may be delayed because of a dispute over an audit of the state’ Medicaid program, Bullock administration officials said Wednesday.
The state had planned to sell the bonds last November, but has been delayed because an obscure state agency — the Legislative Audit Division – has yet to sign off on financial statements needed to sell the bonds.
The Audit Division says it won’t do so unless the state tells investors that the state Medicaid program faces a potential $130 million liability – a liability it says was discovered by its financial review of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Tom Livers, the governor’s budget director, told reporters Wednesday that the Audit Division’s conclusion is incorrect and that the liability doesn’t exist.
Audit Division officials said their financial review indicated that mistakes could have been made in determining eligibility for as many as 50 percent of Medicaid participants – and that the state might have to pay back the federal government up to $130 million because of the errors.
The federal government funds a majority of the Medicaid program.