We've all heard about the huge budget shortfall that Louisiana is facing and we're left shaking our heads wondering how such a thing could happen. Now, I'm certainly no expert, but a new report seems to show that literally millions of dollars were misspent during the previous administration leaving the new Governor, John Bel Edwards and his administration to try and figure out a way to make all this mess work.

Just as auditors were dealing with the budget short falls, there is a new report that says that there are "hundreds of millions of dollars in misappropriated, missing and misused funds." Just how big are those shortfalls? WEll you might want to find something to lean on because the state is staring at a whopping $900 million short fall for the fiscal year which ends this June and we're looking at a $2 billion deficit for the next fiscal year. Not a pretty picture at all and to make matters worse, there is a new report that says that there are "hundreds of millions of dollars in misappropriated, missing and misused funds."

Daryl Pupera is the sate's legislative auditor and according to Pupera,

 

"Those are dollars that could have been used for something else, and they're being paid for the wrong purposes, If we could make improvements, we could save millions of dollars, no doubt."

How could we not be aware that this was coming? That's a damn good question since the auditor has been warning the state's administration for years about bad spending and missing money. One of those money drains appears to be in the area of medicaid.

Try and figure this one out if you can. It seems that for the past eight years, the auditor's office has reported that the Medicaid program was giving patients rides to and from the doctor. there's noting strange about that program except for the fact that, in many cases, there was no medical treatment administered on the days of the rides.

That leaves auditors wondering where that money actually went. It wouldn't be illogical to assume that those rides never actually took place and that the program has been suckered out of over !.5 million. That's a pretty healthy chunk of money and it's hard to write off as a mistake. If it smells like fraud, it's usually fraud and this story stinks to high heaven and that's not the only thing smelling up the Medicaid program.

It seems that over a million dollars has been paid out to people who are in prison! That figure shouldn't even be 50 cents since, according to Pupera, "These are individuals who are in prison, they don't qualify for Medicaid benefits."

According to KPLC:

Purpera said it is ultimately up to the administration to better manage taxpayer money. Over the past few years, Purpera said the Jindal administration did not act sufficiently in response to audit reports. In some cases the same problems were seen year after year.

Wow. Can you say, "understatement?' What a headache! You can be sure of one thing;  the cure is going to come right out of our pockets.

 

A big tip of the hat to our friends at KPLC for the source material for this.