WASHINGTON — New Jersey owes its counties $37 million because they paid too much in Medicaid expenses as the nation recovered from the Great Recession, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. said Tuesday.
President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, which the Congressional Budget Office said created or saved millions of jobs, provided extra federal funding for Medicaid as the economic downturn forced more Americans into the health care program. For New Jersey, that meant an additional $2.7 billion.
The counties’ contributions to the state for Medicaid, however, were too high under the stimulus law.
Pascrell (D-9th Dist.) said Tuesday that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed the state it needed to pay back the money.
“I applaud CMS for its decision to reimburse New Jersey counties for Medicaid overpayments they made during the recession,” Pascrell said. “I urge the state to act expeditiously to complete this process and redistribute these funds.”
Gov. Chris Christie‘s administration plans to appeal. Nicole Brossoie, a a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services said the agency was “surprised” at the decision. In 2014, CMS Deputy Director Kristin Fan told the state that it was “in compliance.”
“The department continues to dispute the audit findings and now will move forward with a formal appeal to the federal Departmental Appeals Board,” Brossoie said.
A July 2014 report by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general said that 17 of the state’s 21 counties may have overpaid. Final figures have yet to be released and fewer counties may be reimbursed.
The counties that may be affected are Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Salem, Sussex, Union and Warren.
“This is an issue the counties have pursued for several years and the findings of the federal government have validated our cause,” said Hudson County Administrator Abe Antun, president of the state Association of County Administrators.