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Ohio Attorney General should keep on digging

King Bureaucracy and its partners in the private sector have become masters at bleeding taxpayers’ dry — a little here, a little there, a little hidden in this pile of red tape, a little disguised as that “service” … the possibilities are endless. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has spent years targeting one such scheme, as he alleges some pharmacy benefit managers are cheating state agencies (and therefore, you) out of tens of millions of dollars.

As state auditor, Yost was able to release an audit of the state’s Medicaid program that showed there was not enough transparency to show whether taxpayers were getting what they paid for. As attorney general, he has filed lawsuits against three corporations involved in being pharmacy benefit managers, but it is slow going.

In March, he sued Centene, the biggest Medicaid managed-care contractor in the country, accusing the company of over billing Medicaid. Centene denies the accusation, but moved the case to federal court. On May 28, the company filed another motion, to try to keep the case out of an Ohio court.

Yost has sued Express Scripts for allegedly violating its contract with the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System.

“This particular PBM egregiously charged for services it didn’t deliver. Its repeated breaches cost Ohioans millions, and we want our money back,” Yost said, though, again the company denies the allegation.

And, Yost has sued OptumRx for allegedly over charging the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation by $16 million. That company, too, denies the allegations.

An Ohio Capital Journal report on Yost’s efforts shows an attorney general keenly aware of the opaque complexity these contractors may be using to hide their skimming from taxpayers. Should his allegations be borne out in court, they could serve as inspiration to dig deeper in all facets of state bureaucracy. Tens of millions of dollars may be just the tip of the iceberg.

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