Washington Health Care Authority

Washington state has been overpaying for health care under the Medicaid program, according to state auditors.

The audit found the state spent about $17 million more than it should have on free health care for the poor in 2010. The amount is a tiny, tiny part of the billion-dollar Medicaid budget. But the auditor found the overpayments could feed a vicious cycle, increasing each year.

About $5.3 million in monthly grants to community health clinics around the state will be suspended through June. Three dozen organizations representing 214 clinics will see the grants suspended beginning Jan. 1.