March 12, 2014
Currently: 58° — Complete forecast |
Log in | Create an account
Letter to the editor:
Carolyn Boyle, Las Vegas
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 | 2:02 a.m.
View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:
• Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.
• Columnists - local and syndicated writers.
• Letters to the editor - readers' views.
Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.
Florida now requires drug tests for people on welfare, a great way to reduce welfare. Nevada needs to follow Florida’s lead. If someone can afford drugs, the person does not need welfare.
Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.
Full comments policy
Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.
Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.
Fraud and abuse in general are problems when government provides free anything. If we are serious about controlling the fraud and abuse, we need to implement a national database of recipients covering all federal and state programs. That way, people could not migrate from state to state getting benefits. In addition, the programs would need to be altered in a way where all funds distributed are carefully tracked electronically in an organized manner, something we do a very poor job of.
These small bore proposals will do little to stem the fraud and abuse. We need an overarching effort that involves better accounting and tracking. This is part of Congresses job, but a part they have always shown zero real interest in doing. Congress has oversight responsibility but the only thing they oversee is the money going out the door, and they never look at 'how effectively' it is spent. Both parties are responsible for this failure.
The fact that we all live in the 21st century and the computer age and we don't have systems that effectively allow us to track our assistance programs is a real travesty.
Dr. Carson, a brain neuro-surgeon from Johns Hopkins, sat at the presenters' table with President Obama and spoke for about 30 minutes at the annual Prayer Breakfast. He lashed into the President's policies, one being the expansion of the the welfare state in the USA. The doctor was one of 7 children whose single mother refused to accept welfare. Instead taking several jobs in households as a maid and house cleaner. She couldn't read and write. She refused welfare because she said everyone she knew on welfare never got off. She eventually got her GED and an honorary doctorate. The doctor said the US went from a "can do" to a "what can you do for me" society." It has eroded the moral fabric of our country and standard of living.
The letter writer must not have read the article by Coolican. Florida's misguided policy ended up costing the state money, as all who tested negative were reimbursed the $30 fee they paid to be tested. A very low percentage of the targeted "takers" tested positive and the percentage fell below the average for the population as a whole. What a waste of time and money.
Now some GOP clown in the Nevada legislature wants to do the same thing, but of course there is no funding available for his planned assault on the 4th amendment. There is no free lunch. Programs instituted must be paid for. How do we pay? Those of us who are not on the welfare system will pay won't we. I'll pass.
Brooke Logan took it a step further in her comment on Feb 8th. Let's drug test EVERYONE WHO RECEIVES GOVERNMENT MONEY. Really Brooke? That would be everyone on Social Security, Medicare, retired government workers, retired military and so on! Who's gonna pay for that boondoggle Ms Logan? Step right up and foot the bill if you want to. Once again, I'll pass..
It's fine to point out that testing welfare recipients or all who accept any government assistance for drug use would be costly and ineffective, but I do wish those that criticize offered an alternative...other than just let the system operate as it does.
Fraud and abuse is rabid and rampant in the US welfare system. By all accounts, rising all the time. The lack of government oversight and monitoring is an invitation to those who want to game the system, which hurts those really in need. If liberal progressives can't/refuse to see and understand this, it's their fault not the people who do.
Is Lind kidding? On the one hand, he states "there is no free lunch." On the other, he omits the fact that welfare is one of the purest forms of "free lunch." Shows the twisted mentality of some of those on the left. "Means testing" or drug testing; whatever it takes to make sure that only those truly in "need" are being helped. The others? "Let them eat cake!"
First, Florida tried this and found that it was not cost-effective, costing the State more than it saved. The Nevada proposal will not pass Federal muster because the $10 fee required is an impermissible barrier prohibited by regulation. In addition the Florida regulation was found to violate the equal protection clause;
Second, fraud and abuse are not "rabid and rampant" in the US welfare system. Rates of fraud are quite low and "abuse" is always in the eye of the beholder. One might as well say that criminal activity is pervasive in the Italian-American community. Prove it, Carmine;
Third, this letter and many of these comments simply reinforce the vicious bigotry directed by some correspondents towards recipients of TANF, SNAP and Section 8 Housing, MOST OF WHOM ARE CHILDREN!
"If someone can afford drugs, the person does not need welfare."
Boyle -- what about prescription drugs? The state pays for those.
"The letter writer must not have read the article by Coolican....."
ressince73 -- good reminder, except you're too hard on Logan, who only echoed what Coolican's article suggested
"Shows the twisted mentality of some of those on the left."
lvfacts -- since when is concern over government spending a "left" kind of thing?
"...Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them." -- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in a TV interview for Thames TV "This Week" on Feb. 5, 1976
wharfats comments remind of the governments budget. Seems they just look the other way and hope it goes away.
A careful look at Florida's experience would be instructive. That will tell us if Florida is leading or misleading us. Those who have preconceived notions on the subject probably won't look at it or be open to it.
Maybe legislators should be drug tested too. Some of them apparently need more drugs that they're getting now.
Good Heavens, folks, the welfare system already has a "means" testing to determine eligibility. Our society is what it is: mixed with the good and bad together. Are we forever focusing on punishing those who do not "conform" to our values and way of thinking by holding over their needy heads, who is "deserving" and who is not?
Like the many of you, I don't particularly like watching abuse by anyone. Some got the way they are by: being born in, growing up in, and living in a home culture that was not nurturing in any way, shape, or form. They are already condemned to a life of social dependency unless someone on the "outside" took a risk and helped them to either get out, or break the cycle of bad thinking.
The great travesty is, that when we punish the adults commiting abuses against the system, we inherently inflict that punishment also upon innocent children, as Pat Hayes suggested with, "Third, this letter and many of these comments simply reinforce the vicious bigotry directed by some correspondents towards recipients of TANF, SNAP and Section 8 Housing, MOST OF WHOM ARE CHILDREN!"
Day in and out, working in a Title 1 School, I witness first hand the fates of young children with their young lives tied to many loathsome parents and caregivers, whose sole purpose in life is to reproduce as many offspring possible, or create an issue with their child so as to create increasing incomes derived from public and private assistance to feather their nests and comfort zones without bearing full responsibility for their life choices and actions. Without outside intervention, these children accept that this is the way life works, they don't "get" it should be a temporary help during a family crisis. THAT is the real crime here.
Until our American system of social services can be more efficient, it cannot possibly be any more effective in stamping out poverty and want as we know it. Taxpayers will continue to shoulder their (welfare recipients) burden with little support from those elite and Lawmakers who prefer to maintain a class caste system of power. And as we all know, we pay taxes cradle to grave, there is no escape on that.
Blessings and Peace,Star
Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Betty Ford, George Bush...people with a self-admitted substance abuse problems. those in glass houses...
Lets drug test the bankers who profit from narcoterrorism too !
This is a policy highly approved of by the right, but I can't understand why. The way the right heavily bemoans government intrusion into to our lives I'd think they would by eager to ELIMINATE one area of intrusion affecting many people - intrusion on the right of people to ingest/smoke/inject whatever they want. Seems that the right would argue only for tough controls over those who actually damage others with their habits: go ahead, smoke pot, sniff coke - but don't even THINK about then going out for a drive.
Republican bill of rights :
Single amendment : shoot everybody full of lead
After seeing him in action for a few years there are many Floridans who believe Gov. Rick Scott should be tested for basic competency. However, with the state legislature controlled by the GOP there's little chance Scott will undergo a thorough mental evaluation while in office.
That's why in Nov 2014 voters will have to take matters into their own hands and make sure Scott's political career was a short, ugly one. And with poll numbers among the lowest for any governor, he's almost certainly headed for an epic defeat.
"Second, fraud and abuse are not "rabid and rampant" in the US welfare system. Rates of fraud are quite low and "abuse" is always in the eye of the beholder. One might as well say that criminal activity is pervasive in the Italian-American community. Prove it, Carmine" @ Pat Hayes
I don't have to prove it. The proof already exists. Go to the web sites for the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] and the Government Accouting Office [GAO]. Do a search of the IG and GAO reports on welfare fraud and abuse. You'll get a list of numbered reports, their titles, and dates. Then open them up and read.
Here is the first and opening commentary on the GAO web page IF and WHEN the public searches the list of OIG Reports for Fraud and Abuse in the US Welfare system:
GAO Seeks the Public's Help in Fighting Waste, Fraud, Abuse... Press Release of March 30, 2009; As billions of dollars are distributed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging private citizens, government workers, contractors, and others to report waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement of those funds to FraudNet. FraudNet is an e-mail, phone, and fax hotline that processes allegations about federal agencies and federally funded programs."
HHS the same.
If you take the time to read one/all the OIG reports on the matter you will notice a consistent theme throughout. Based on the OIG investigations, reviews, and reports, the rates and levels of Fraud Waste and Abuse for taxpayer funds for ALL US WELFARE PROGRAMS exceeds the government's initial estimates in both percentages and dollars. And has been on the rise year over year.
You can accept/deny the findings of these reports. It makes no difference. The facts and the truth about welfare fraud and abuse in the USA are the same whether you and others believe them or not. Sadly, sadly it's been the case since 1978 and still.
Referring to Carmine's links I found that the HHS OIG reported recovery of 6.9 billion  due to fraud.....900 million in actual audited recovery and 6 billion in investigative expenses. The majority of fraud occurred in Medicare, not "welfare" [TANF, SNAP, Section 8]. So most "welfare" fraud is attributable to doctors, hospitals and medical suppliers. States administer the programs so fraud is reported to those offices. Looking at 2011 data [latest available for my state] shows that just over 2% of cases were reported or flagged for fraud. Of those more than half were not deemed investigable. Of those investigated almost half were thrown out because of inadvertent error.
There is precious little data to support allegations of welfare fraud. There are, however, no small number of people eager and willing to repeat the meme of welfare fraud backed up by innumerable anecdotes freely repeated without documentation of any kind. "My sister-in-law's cousin gets $4000 a month for nine children that she doesn't really have".....except nobody can identify the sister-in-law, her cousin, the town or any other details.
Sophistry and anecdotes and poisonous commentary are what drive this discussion.
WHEN I lived in the Milwaukee area, there were cases on welfare moms who were incarcerated for fraud--they had taken ADC/TANF while working full time. And then there were the fathers who invariably CLAIMED they supported their kids but didn't. I doubt the feds ever collected the back taxes and restitution for fraudulently obtained benefits but perhaps the media coverage of the cases was a deterrent. I came from modest circumstances and didn't always get much to eat. Now I like to feel full, so I am a few pounds overweight. Through my various life experiences the attitudes bother me: the giveme welfare attitudes. One that is particularly irksome (from a 60 minutes program) is when parents keep asking for more and more without planning, saving, doing their part. I recall parents of two "special needs" boys who the program said needed all sorts of medical help and assistance as life was not kind to them. Please already. Dad was a long-haul trucker with a reasonable income. Mom was a stay-at-home. Both parents CHAIN SMOKED while their kids had serious lung issues. Mom railed that the cost of the cigarettes shouldn't be considered in how much other assistance they "needed." She just couldn't accept that the chain smoking impacted the kids' health. At 5-6 packs a day at say $5 a pack nowadays.... Here's my take: if you can find the money to smoke, you can find the money to take care of your kids. If you can find the money for grass, speed, coke, meth...., you can find the money to take care of your kids.
NEWSFLASH: The feds look for PROVIDER fraud in Medicare, Medicaid.... Nobody has thought to look at beneficiary fraud, I.D. theft, verifying citizenship in any meaningful way. Michael, I hear you about the criticism. As said, I endorse a temporary safety net for all Americans. Perhaps we could start the fraud investigations on those who are long-term clients, recipients....after cross checking them in that database for using multiple SSNs.
Let us consider that "proving" fraud in court means that many potential court cases are never pursued for want of witnesses, locating the perpetrators, consideration for the kids of perpetrators.......so we may reasonably conclude that there are many more cases of actual fraud than can be pursued. Further, the idea is to PRECLUDE FRAUD with internal controls such as the database mentioned elsewhere. Then, let us consider why people keep applying for benefits surfing the programs and applying in multiple geographies for local, state, federal AND non-profit assistance at the same time. There must be something in it for them. Something easier than actually earning a living or "limiting" yourself to your earned income, adding all the free benefits you can locate.
"The majority of fraud occurred in Medicare," Pat Hayes @ 1:43 PM
"Go to the web sites for the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] and the Government Accouting Office [GAO]. Do a search of the IG and GAO reports on welfare fraud and abuse." @ CarmineD @ 11:41 AM
I didn't say Medicare. I said welfare fraud and abuse. Now, research Food Stamp, WIC, and Medicaid Fraud and Abuse and post the results here. Let us determine where and which programs have the most fraud waste and abuse not you. We can draw our own conclusions based on the facts and circumstances of the evidence. You don't have to for us.
"There is precious little data to support allegations of welfare fraud." Pat Hayes
Really, Pat? Here's one short excerpt. Let me know if you need assistance in finding more data.
"While the number of food stamp recipients has significantly increased (now up to a total of 45 million Americans) the percentage of cases investigated for fraud has not increased or even remained constant. The result is that fraudsters are duping taxpayers of millions, even billions, of dollars. According to fiscal year 2010 data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maryland and Virginia distributed about $130 million in food stamps to individuals who were not eligible. For every $100 in benefits, those two states doled out $6.11 and $5.04, respectively, to those not eligible. The national average for that time was $3.05. Inefficiency in the food stamp program spending is costing taxpayers billions. Of the $64.7 billion spent on the program last year (a record high that is only slated to increase), an overall $2.5 billion was spent on improper food stamp payments."
I agree with the letter writer if a person is on illegal drugs they most certainly do not need welfare assistance.Welfare should be set aside for the poeple who truly need it.
We should not only test in just some states but all states 50 that have welfare programs. Welfare is not something that people pay into such as social security. Welfare is strictly a handout for the less fortunate.
FYI Pat et al:
More than 50 million Americans are currently enrolled in Medicaid, a joint federal-state health care program for poor and disabled Americans that is projected to costs American taxpayers $457 billion this year. To put the size of the program in context, annual Medicaid spending now exceeds Wal-Mart's worldwide annual revenue and annual Medicaid spending is 40 percent larger than Greece's entire economy. Because of its enormous size and complexity, Medicaid is susceptible to substantial amounts of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement. No one knows how much of Medicaid's budget consists of waste, fraud, and abuse, but it may exceed $100 billion a year. Policymakers in favor of increased taxation and growing government should first look inward at how government is functioning, and focus first on curtailing the excessive waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement that is pervasive throughout programs such as Medicaid.
In 2003, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) added Medicaid to its list of high-risk programs. A major reason Medicaid is a high risk program is because of the open-ended federal reimbursement of state Medicaid spending. The open-ended reimbursement significantly reduces the incentives for states to act as wise stewards of federal taxpayer dollars. Because states lack adequate incentives to combat fraud and abuse in their Medicaid programs, the federal government's oversight role is even more critical.
Unfortunately, CMS often fails to prioritize Medicaid program oversight. Without a significant incentive for government to crack down on Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse, journalists and other watchdog groups -- as opposed to state or federal agencies -- often expose Medicaid fraud schemesOver the past two decades, Medicaid spending has grown by 450 percent, so states are desperate to maximize the federal money flowing into the program. Since Medicaid spending is projected to more than double over the next decade, states are likely to increase their use of creative techniques and contingency-fee consultants to find new ways to leverage additional federal tax money into their programs. A key ingredient of Medicaid reform must be to realign the incentives of government and providers to ensure they act as wise stewards of taxpayer dollars. Reforming the open-ended federal Medicaid reimbursement and eliminating states' use of supplemental payments would cause states to obtain better value for the money spent through the program."
Excerpted from a GAO report to Congress in 2012.
Less than 3% of welfare recipients are on drugs. How much taxpayer money would you like to spend testing everyone? A losing situation thought of by the losing party.
One has to pay for his own drug test to drive a cab or get a job in a hiring hall. It seems to be a scam and a bonanza for the urine analysis business. Kicking people when they're down ? Are conservatives sadistic ?
Drug dealing is not a qualifier for receiving Medicaid! It is not question of "deserving" in this regard. If asked, I doubt people will admit to committing an illegal act to authorities of a government program.~~~~~~~Carmine,
"Fraud and abuse is rabid and rampant in the US welfare system. By all accounts, rising all the time. The lack of government oversight and monitoring is an invitation to those who want to game the system, which hurts those really in need."
I enjoyed your oxymoron! With a lack of government oversight and monitoring, it would be rather difficult to establish accurate fraud and abuse statistics.~~~~~~
There seems to be some confusion about public assistance. While there are federal matching funds under some circumstances, Medicaid, the public assistance program, is a state program, with varying regulations, depending on the states. In California, it is called Medi-Cal.
The federal government can set some standards that are attached to the receipt of the federal funds portion, but the states and politicians of both parties legislatures have the much of the say on their states policies and regulations.
Even with the political element, many states are capable of a sophisticated operation of their state program which provides assistance to those who need it. It depends on the economic level and will of the people in each state.
Oversight costs money that often decreases the help needed by recipients. Money is needed for both, not as an imbalance of funds allocated.
Medicaid is not something they majority of people would want to be on. It is not a cushy way of life. It is poverty, SUBsistence, with all that entails.~~~~~~
Good comment Star! It would be advantageous if we spent the money needed to serve the children in a way that would aid them to become inspired, productive adults. Or, provide them with the loving care they needed.~~~~~
The biggest problem is making public assistance a political football rather than a human right with due vigilance.
We need to make a REAL humane effort to do what is needed to truly help people become productive citizens, if they are mentally and physically capable. For those who are not, we need to develop a compassionate attitude and recognize our responsibility as a supposedly civilized society.
It would take much more of a long term cultural change, investment, and process, but might be the only way to break or seriously decrease the cycle of what occurs now.
The alternative is to let people starve and die, and a sharp increase in criminal activity. Hardly anything that would be associated with a developed country, or society.
"The majority of fraud occurred in Medicare, not "welfare" [TANF, SNAP, Section 8]. So most "welfare" fraud is attributable to doctors, hospitals and medical suppliers."
One might need to analyze the "fraud and abuse" statistics in each state to know the true Medicaid figures since they are state programs with state determined rules and regulations, as well as non-federal funds dependent on the state economy.
"Fraud and abuse in general are problems when government provides free anything"
I don't think it is limited to "free anything". Look at the fraud and abuse in the Iraq and Afghanistan war and other contractual services.
Look at Wall St., banks, and insurance.
Look at business and corporations, and employees of same.
Look at the subsidies that are not needed but which lobbyists gain for their special interests.
Now, we have pre-teens using programming skills to write malicious code to steal data. Imagine the implications for the future.
Our society is riddled with fraud and abuse, governmental and non-governmental. It is almost a way of life here now. The problem is that people focus on what they think they see coming out of their pockets, while they miss so much more that is robbing them blind, and which is not "welfare" for the poorest.
I would love to see some accurate comparisons of who is robbing who and in what amount. We might keel over with respiratory arrest from the shock.
A reminder for NV residents. We don't have a state income tax, yet. So how is Medicaid funded on the State level?
In a sense, Nevada non-income taxpayers are welfare recipients of the federal government's financial assistance to the state to provide aid to those who are in need.
That means the taxes that are spent by the federal government on behalf of NV also come from the taxpayers in other states, spreading the joy around.
Maybe it is time for Nevadans to assume more responsibility.
I love this discussion even the cantankerous usual holier-than-thous. Would it not be appropriate for THIS Legislature to authorize SOMEthing? How about a trial balloon of 3-5 investigators working with the AG to see what they can come up with. The feds do some checking of providers so maybe we could focus on BENEFICIARY FRAUD and abuse. I realize Nevada will never be out front on that database thing. I am aware that the State and feds do OCCASIONAL database cross checks. You may recall some media about the feds cross checking welfare rolls with the GM payroll in Michigan and finding many hits of people collecting both GM paychecks and TANF. So the most effective means of a new, small fraud squad would perhaps be a background check on random welfare clients. Take a few of those in "low income" housing and check for all residents by checking Facebook, White pages..... Then take all residents and check to local, state, federal, non-profit provers to the extent practical. Does this not just speak volumes that the government needs each client to SIGN A WAIVER when applying for benefits that the government (and representatives) may check up on them. Each case should document how long each type of aide has been provided. Applications for aide, when retrievable, should mention previous applications, prior assistance but clients probably "forget" to mention lots of things. Recent news indicates 30% of incarcerated are collecting food stamps--maybe the Fraud Squad could pull prisoner SSN's and check the State data bases by SSN and by name. Now the name thing CAN BE tricky. There are dozens of "Steve Johnsons" in Nevada and there are probably several Dominquete Roudundee nationwide--even with that spelling. But give it a whirl. A good investigator can often tell when a listed SSN as a secondary number on "his woman's" welfare case is a bogus SSN. Isn't this something worth trying for 3-4 years?
Cost effective? Costs? We recently heard that several mission in Unemployment Compensation has gone to Nevada prisoners in the last couple of years--actual numbers not estimates.
peacelilly 5:50 You need a break. Clearly you will NOT be asked to join the fraud squad. FEDERAL income taxes are used by the federal government, not state income taxes. Other states are not subsidizing Nevada's failure to investigate abuse.
"Of those investigated almost half were thrown out because of inadvertent error." Otherwise known as blame the biller. What a crock.
LOL at "inadvertent". At one time, I kept profiles of the number of "inadvertent errors" by providers of the Medi-Cal program. It is interesting to see the repetition of these errors, even after notifying the provider that they have a problem and how to solve it. I referred some non-compliant doctors to the physician medical licensing boards to deal with them.
I also worked with a doctor who demanded billing for items not provided or provided outside of normal practice. When I talked to him about it, and indicated it was incorrect, he demanded that I continue to bill that way or find another job. I quit.
I once worked for another physician who took over the practice of a doctor whose license was suspended. He had to withdraw so many patients from prescription meds addictions that the other physician caused to keep them coming to him so he could bill Medi-Cal, that it took considerable time and effort. Some simply left to look for another pusher doctor.
The doctor I worked for eventually built a practice built on quality service that was honest.
I have seen so much fraud and abuse from providers that it is shocking. Yet, these professionals cry for more and more from the practice building and sustaining assistance programs, both state and federal.
When these same doctors build their practices with private insured patients, they split. They got what they wanted, and to hell with those in need.
Surely, there are recipients that commit fraud and abuse, and we certainly need the funds for manpower to discover and deal with it. Little or no funds, little or no solution. You cannot punish all for the smaller number of crooks, especially children, mentally ill, aged and sick who are not covered under another program.
I would ask why we demonize the recipients and give the providers a pass?
There are many who transition off of "welfare" when it has provided them the opportunity to prepare for a productive life, particularly single mothers who get an education or job training that would allow them to support the family. Some can use far less assistance than keeping them dependent on public assistance through lack of help in developing their skills.
We accomplish nothing unless we can move from demonizing to dignifying people. We need to spend money on educating, job preparation, child care in order FRESS people from "welfare".
Then we need to evaluate those who are stuck on "welfare" due to mental or physical states, and those who exhibit no desire to be free of it. That is another problem. Certainly, we can come up with some compassionate and creative ideas to help them. But we must stop lumping all recipients in the same basket, and make the investment that will reduce the expense eventually.
Peacelily et al:
Not and oxymoron. WRT Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse, I was referring to STATE and local monitoring and oversight which administer these programs. [Recall too I have been an advocate for Block Granting Medicaid]. ;-)
State and local budget cuts in recent years have reduced the State/local efforts to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of Medicaid and other welfare programs, especially as the welfare programs have balloned in size.
The Office of the Inspector General for HHS and the GAO have review and oversight responsibility for all welfare programs getting Federal dollars for funding. In addition, GAO has responsibility to conduct reviews of the welfare system and welfare programs whenever Congress asks [as in the case of the Executive Summary I excerpted above].
Bob the Realist,
"GAO Seeks the Public's Help in Fighting Waste, Fraud, Abuse..."
The help that is referred to is best identified by the "public", meaning the person who received care.
They can access billings of services they received. They know if they received the services or not.
This is not possible for a person sitting at a desk processing the claims. They have to go on what is billed. Only when it doesn't fit standard practice does a claim draw attention.
The patient can validate the number of services received in comparison to what was billed, as well as dates of services.
So, yes, the public plays an important role, and has a responsibility to do so.
"50 million Americans enrolled...40% larger than Greece's entire economy"
The population of Greece is 11,304,000, probably less since many have left to find jobs in other countries.
Is it any wonder that the numbers don't reflect parity?
"FEDERAL income taxes are used by the federal government, not state income taxes. Other states are not subsidizing Nevada's failure to investigate abuse."
Good you have one eye open. You need an education on public assistance funding. You won't find it in the "news/media", which cherry picks for shock value.
I have already been on the fraud squad and found plenty of it among the providers, which was my assignment. Others investigated the recipients.
"The Office of the Inspector General for HHS and the GAO have review and oversight responsibility for all welfare programs getting Federal dollars for funding. In addition, GAO has responsibility to conduct reviews of the welfare system and welfare programs whenever Congress asks"
My heavens, Carmine, you certainly must understand the reality of what "oversight" involves and means, including what it pertains to and lacks.
Perhaps we should transfer some of those GAO oversighters to the states to do some real world investigation and research. Pay them at a state level as well, and with the same benefits as in the states. Bet we could save some money there.
"The fact that we all live in the 21st century and the computer age and we don't have systems that effectively allow us to track our assistance programs is a real travesty."
You are correct, but having done such work, I can tell you that there are not a huge number of qualified people who are able to do the tracking.
You cannot believe how much knowledge is needed that crosses over many competencies to get the detail that is truly useful for effective analysis.
In one of my jobs I had to design exactly what I wanted because there was no way of gathering the data with what existed. I could do it because my experience and knowledge happened to bridge many different professional areas, so I knew what to look for that would give me an accurate facts.
It is more difficult than many realize, but shouldn't be.
Additionally, you have to make your way through justifying what you want to do with the powers that be, who guard their domains with zeal and potential retribution. Win some and lose some!
I succeeded and the result was financial savings with increased quality.
This went far beyond oversight, and can be done. Sometimes, it is as difficult as bringing politicians of opposing ideologies into agreement. ;-)
Hey, those welfare foodstamp cards are great. Several people I know use them to buy steaks and then sell the steaks to me for half price. Works great.
W0W! It's all Groovy...
"50 million Americans enrolled...40% larger than Greece's entire economy" The population of Greece is 11,304,000, probably less since many have left to find jobs in other countries. Is it any wonder that the numbers don't reflect parity?" @ peacelily
You're confusing 2 different numbers: Population size and economy size. Very different numbers.
"My heavens, Carmine, you certainly must understand the reality of what "oversight" involves and means, including what it pertains to and lacks." @ peacelily
I do. Perhaps you don't. The issue is and always has been this: The States are biased to increase the numbers on welfare to qualify for more Fed dollars. Hence, monitoring and oversight for efficiency and effectiveness of welfare programs at the State and local levels is secondary to number counts. Especially with budget cuts.
Hence, I am a proponent of Block Granting Medicaid to the States. It puts the onus on them to measure and manage better. In turn this reduces costs and increases efficiency. Nothing new. I said so here, and to you, many times in the past. ;-)
"We should not only test in just some states but all states 50 that have welfare programs. " Sam Pizzo
Correct Sam. Currently only 3 states test welfare recipients for drug use. The intent is to keep welfare recipients from using government funds to buy and use drugs. The cost to test is a $10 oral swab per person. Since WIC is for infants and children, these States do not want to penalize the kids who are the real needy. In the 3 States, welfare recipients must take a drug test. If they test positive, they must enroll in a drug rehab and stay clean. If they don't they are dropped from the rolls. If they are using government money for drugs, the kids aren't getting cared for with the money. Testing is fair, cost effective, and wise to all involved.
Bigots need somebody to kick around. As it is no longer acceptable to overtly don the white sheets and lynch those uppity folk, bigots will now use more covert methods. The underlying anecdotes of welfare revolve around multiple generations women popping out illegitimate babies and supporting their drug dealing boyfriends with welfare benefits from multiple sources. The Irish were shiftless Papists breeding like rabbits, the Italians were all criminals, the Jews were....well Jews. Now it's poor people on welfare. Bigots never change, but like con men they get more sophisticated.
Welfare, SSDI, EBT cards supplement the drug dealers income. Time are tough out there!
No Pat, it's not about the poor on welfare at all. Every commenter here wants the really needy cared for. No, it's about the drug users on welfare. And the others who game the welfare system with fraud, waste and abuse whether providers or recipients. Even far left liberal progressives with rose color glasses know the distinction.
@Carmine....you must not listen to talk radio, especially the local, regional and all-night shows. Rush and his ilk take the bigotry about as far as they can without damaging their lucrative franchise. Hang around truck stops, the backroom where regular folk work and you'll hear it all laid out politically incorrect. I'd love to see a good definition of "truly needy",
Someone needs to inform the writer of the difference between a drug user and a drug dealer. Cigarette smokers and alcohol consumers are drug users. Markets that sell those products are drug dealers.
Nice to know when push comes to shove you pass the ball to talk radio and back street bickering for your discussion points. I expected more.
@Carmine....talk radio is the font of and testing ground for Tea Party and Republican memes, one of which is the "no welfare for drug user". You surely are no so naive as to believe that the right has the best interests of drug users at heart. This issue is one of many testing the exact location of fault lines in American society, part of the game of determining how unpopular a particular demographic is and how best to tag your ideological opponents with that unpopularity. The left does the same with snotty overblown magazines and columnists and uses organizations like Occupy to encourage division. I don't know what and how much you read or listen. I read about a dozen newspapers and blogs a day and sample a few more. There is clearly a hierarchy of commentary. The LVSun with its "trusted" commenter and active oversight has fairly robust and mostly polite discussion groups. Some of what I read, though, is pretty disgusting. The hard-core anti-Obama folk are proof enough of that. If you want a closer example look at some of the pejoratives directed at Rep. Brooks regarding his mental health issues.
@Carmine....I meant to say "snooty" left wing magazines but "snotty" works just as well.
"Carmine....You surely are no so naive as to believe that the right has the best interests of drug users at heart." @ Pat Hayes
If not them, then surely their infant and children dependents who are the truly needy.
Driving across I 10 early this year I saw lots of land. The government could establish camps and let those poor people who are "down on their luck" farm a plot of land. They could sell the produce and not need checks anymore and become self sufficient. There is no incentive or mandate to become self sufficient now, no mandate on how many babies you can have that you can not afford to raise, no mandate on anything to make welfare recipients get off welfare. I am not picking on old or the disabled, those who could work including the mothers should. Instead of helping someone truly in need for short period until they can get back on track it has become a way of life that pays better then min wage jobs in many cases.
@Carmine...I agree that it's the kids who are victims in all this but I can't say that I've seen any consideration for those kids on the part of many conservative correspondents to these threads.
"@Carmine...I agree that it's the kids who are victims in all this but I can't say that I've seen any consideration for those kids on the part of many conservative correspondents to these threads."
I have to disagree with you. 3 States test welfare recipients for illegal drugs. If they test positive, they have to enroll in rehab and stay clean to keep eligible. If not, the welfare is paid to another adult for the care of the infants and children preferably in the same household and/or related to the infants and children. That adult is subject to the same testing to receive the welfare assistance for the childen. IMO this sounds like the States have the good of the needy children in mind. It's a win for all involved.
BTW, the drug test costs $10 for an oral swab that takes a few seconds to do.
© Las Vegas Sun, 2014, All Rights Reserved