Cornyn, Cassidy, Toomey Introduce Bill Ensuring Taxpayers Don’t Subsidize Medicaid Recipients Who Hit Lottery

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and I introduced the Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Over Lottery Winners Act of 2017 to help ensure states are able to focus Medicaid assistance on our most vulnerable. Under current Medicaid regulations, large lump sum payments, such as lottery winnings, are counted as income only in the month received. As a result, states are effectively not allowed to dis-enroll lottery winners from Medicaid. This forces taxpayers to bear the burden of paying the health care benefits for individuals whose income has suddenly ballooned and no longer require assistance.

Closing this loophole will ensure states are able to focus their Medicaid dollars on those most in need of assistance, not on high-dollar lottery winners. This bill will give states the ability to dis-enroll someone who receives a high-dollar lump sum payment while also ensuring impacted individuals facing potential medical hardship can keep their assistance.

“As a doctor who served Medicaid patients for decades, I understand how important the program is to the elderly, Americans with disabilities, and others in need,” Dr. Cassidy said. “The Medicaid program should prioritize the people who need help the most, not lottery winners. That’s only fair to taxpayers and the patients who truly rely on it.”

“I commend Senator Cornyn for introducing this measure to improve the integrity of Medicaid and help ensure taxpayer resources are going to those who need them most,” Sen. Toomey said.


The bill would close the current loophole by requiring states to count monetary winnings from lotteries of $80,000 or more as if they were obtained over multiple months, even if obtained in a single month, for purposes of determining individual's eligibility for a state Medicaid program under Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) rules. Impacted individuals could continue to be eligible for medical assistance if denial of eligibility would cause undue medical or financial hardship.


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