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Local Editorials

Our View: Time to cancel medical drama

Illinois has a new spinoff from the hit TV series “The Walking Dead.”

No, it’s not the “Driving Dead” commercials and advertisements you might have seen, staring a former “The Walking Dead” character.

Welcome to “The Insured Dead.”

Not as catchy, we realize. But, give us a minute to pitch it. This is more of a whodunit than an action plot.

Time: Early February.

Setting: The Illinois state auditor’s office. (Stay with us!)

Starring: Maybe someone you knew?

Plot: A report from state Auditor General William Holland released last week found $3.7 million was paid for medical care for about 1,100 people who died. The report found nearly 6,000 people still were marked as eligible for medical services despite being listed as dead elsewhere in state or federal records.

The Associated Press reported in April the state’s Medicaid program overpaid $12.3 million for services to dead people in 2013. The vast majority of overpayments went to managed care contracts with insurance companies, who then pay for health care for the poor and disabled.

Are you setting your DVR yet?

OK, we aren’t either. In fact, this is a terrible show that should be canceled. Immediately.

Holland told The Associated Press, “The payments are troubling.” He said he expects the problem to subside as the state works out glitches in its expansion of managed care.

Those are some pretty big “glitches,” and this isn’t the first report about Illinois making these kinds of payments.

A 2013 audit found a person who died in 1989 had payments of nearly $30,000 made to providers from 2005-13. The problem was taken care of once it was discovered. But, for a lack of a better term, how were zombie payments like this allowed to fester at all?

The state can’t afford to waste a penny, and this specific kind of wasteful spending can’t keep coming back from the dead.

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