Those who think this is a great idea - tell me:
Before you justify MORE investigators - being so knowledgeable on the subject as you undoubtably are, tell me just how are the investigators we already have doing?
Are you just looking to expand a failed program?
Since you apparently know, why don't you fill us in?
Or should we just can everybody involved and start over?
At some point, I support that view.
I am not sure your position is all that logical in that it presupposes that the current investigators of welfare fraud have worked diligently to uproot fraud from the system. I am not implying that they are lazy, but rather that previous administrations did not have this as a priority and so said investigators did as they were told in order to keep their jobs. Right now, today, there is a new Sheriff in town and this is a priority for his administration and he is empowering his staff to do something about this fraud.
Where I do share Tom C's concern is on the harassment end of things. With great power comes great responsibility. The actions of investigators should be reviewed to ensure that proper policies have been followed and that no one outside of the current investigation will be effected by an enforcement action (see John Smith.) With that in mind, I say go for it. I am tired of subsidizing the livelihoods of young women and men who stay home all day, smoke cigarettes, drink Allen's coffee brandy and cause problems for everyone else because they have nothing better to do.
I am not sure your position is all that logical in that it presupposes that the current investigators of welfare fraud have worked diligently to uproot fraud from the system
There! Now we're making progress.
Maybe we don't need MORE investigators - we just need different ones. Or we need to review our current approach. Merely adding more of something that doesn't work won't get you anywhere.
Last week’s DOJ raid on two Gibson Guitar facilities in Tennessee has generated justifiable anger.
But the Justice Department’s silence reflects the reality that Gibson likely hasn’t broken any American laws — at most, they might have failed to meet “every regulatory jot and tittle” of the country from which the wood was imported (in the case of the most recent raid, India).
Michelle Obama’s Gibson guitar gift
What could go wrong?
Tom C - to answer your question - how can i judge the work of others if i don;t know what their marching orders were, how the cases were reviewed after their investigations, etc...without knowing what the previous administration found, or chose not to find, its tough to evaluate their performance...all i know is under the current administration rocks are being turned over and look what we're finding....program integrity seems to be an issue with the previous administration, and not just with DHHS funds.....that tells me we need to keep digging and mainers will support that digging to ensure their tax dollars are spent fairly and appropriately.
But finding a few women who are getting food stamps for thier family while they are working under the table is not going to solve the state budget issue. Perhaps there may be some satisfaction there, but I doubt if it will amount to the the amounts we need to fix the Maine welfare state.
Robert Reed - well said, and I agree. We need to persevere. The revelations just in the last year say there may be far more fraud and abuse than previously believed.
"But finding a few women who are getting food stamps for thier family while they are working under the table is not going to solve the state budget issue."
If you think that is the extent, breadth, and depth of problems in our system, we have views so far apart they aren't even on the same planet.
So we're never going to agree on what measures are required, and how important it is to initiate them.
Tom C is correct that it won't solve the state budget problem.... but every little bit helps. And there will be a great deal of satisfaction in the peanut gallery by way of apprehending those people that fraudulently obtained our hard earned tax money. Cheating the system, even in the scenario that Tom C presented, is still cheating. If folks are on the dole, play by the rules.
IFW figured out that enforcement relies on informants. So they incorporated "operation game thief". You tell us who is breaking the rules and we will give you MONEY. So...."operation welfare thief"....yes?
Nothing like public involvement.
I just came back up on the grid this evening. Cathcing up on the twists and turns of the conversation. In summary, Tom doesn't trust government to do anything. I seem to recall that he moaned and groaned like the rest of us under the Baldacci administration about the lack of accountability in DHHS. Now that we have a Republican governor who wants to create some accountability Tom has taken the hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil attitude.
Like it or not Tom there are people doing business with the State of Maine, and beneficiaries of the DHHS programs who are commiting fraud. The people of this state deserve to have someone looking out for their best interests. The Baldacci administration was asleep at the switch when it came to pursuing FWA in state government. Give LePage a chance! At least he's trying!
The only way this stands a chance is if the rules are understood and not nterpreted by anyone from the top down!
If it mines no then that is what it will take,not well maybe or we cannot do that because of whatever. The problem today is that has not been the case which has lead people to believe it is acceptable to defraud the state. No amount of investigators will make a difference unless the rules are understood and enforced.
One would hope that at somepoint investigatorscan be looking at Mainecare and how it is used. There is more waste there then anyother program IMHO.
Bruce Libby said "The problem today is that has not been the case which has lead people to believe it is acceptable to defraud the state"
I agree with that. To me that's 99% of the problem. Lying about income or living arrangements in order to reap the benefits is acceptable and in fact has been encouraged.....The previous administrations nonchalant attitude about enforcement just gave the whole thing legs..
A serious effort to porsecute the theives and defrauders and hold them up as an example may have outstanding benefits. LePage can hit a home run with this one if he does it right.....
Tom - with all due respect, ANY crime should be investigated whether its a buck or a million...the message must be clear both to the users and the funders (taxpayers) that we will hold everyone accountable and expect a program run with integrity so funds emain for those who truly need them. To decide its not worth prosecuting for lower dollars WILLl send a message thats its okay to cheat "a little". Where exactly would you draw the line on what to investigate and what not to investigate.
Please also keep in mind that in manycases we see people who cheat in one respect are looking to manipulate many dollars and perpetrate the same lies in every avenue.
There are many 'modalities' for fraud, waste, and abuse.
Including over-utilization. Talk to someone who works in a hospital, and ask them what their experience with meidcaid folks is; in all likelihood, you will hear about demands for treatment for inconsequential annoyances, or even non-existent ones.
And you might find dentists being prodded for 'pain medication.'
I seem to recall that he moaned and groaned like the rest of us under the Baldacci administration about the lack of accountability in DHHS.
Perhaps I did, but I'm trying to remember where I said just that. Could you help me out there?
I mean, you wouldn't make a charge like that without some pretty solid proof behind it, I'd hope.
Tom - with all due respect, ANY crime should be investigated whether its a buck or a million...
Sure! Bring the hammer down!
It has come out that Juszkiewicz [CEO of Gibson Guitar] is a Republican donor, while the CEO of one of his principal competitors, C.F. Martin & Company, is a Democratic donor. Martin reportedly uses the same wood, but DOJ hasn’t raided them, leading to speculation that the Obama administration is sending a warning to Republican businessmen that they had better not oppose his re-election, lest they face criminal investigations.
The Gibson Guitar Saga Gets Steadily Curiouser
Tom, if you are a fiscal conservative who hates paying taxes to the government I simply don't understand your objection to adding more investigative oversight. I don't get the whole vendetta thing. State investigators have to comply with the law and the rules of evidence. If an investigator has a conflict of interest in a particular case then a supervisory decision should be made to remove that investigator. Cases are likely reviewed by department legal staff and the AG's offices before any action is taken. If criminal or civil action is deemed appropriate then the matter goes before a judge. The system can differentiate between a simple mistake and an out-right attempt to defraud!
I know there have been a few comments along the way that have said there is more waste in the Mainecare division than the EBT Program. I am not going to debate which one has more over the other as I am not sure which one is worse, to be honest.
There is one thing that does bother me, woman with children living with boyfriend who has job and children and is collecting EBT, Mainecare, and money for daycare. Why does she need money for daycare if she is not working. Boyfriend pays for his own daycare services with his ex-wife through court arrangement. Girlfriend says she is not claiming anything from boyfriend. He and his kids are covered under his insurance policy from work. What gets me is why she needs daycare money if she is not working and why is she not claiming his income while living her boyfriend. Would 6 mouths not give them a higher amount of EBT in the end or is his income just to high in the end. Makes me wonder.
Tom, if you are a fiscal conservative who hates paying taxes to the government I simply don't understand your objection to adding more investigative oversight.
I don't understand your insistence of adding more of something that doesn't seem to be working.
Tom - do you honestly think the former administration truly cared as much as the present administration, about "making fraud investigations work"?
41-year old Illinois mechanic Michael Allison faces life in jail for recording police officers after authorities hit him with eavesdropping charges
Man Faces Life In Jail For Recording Police
Plenty of safeguards! Nothing can go wrong!
Once again, Tom C, since you are so knowledgeable on the subject, what do you recommend?
Or is everything on the up and up, and there's nothing to be gained by bringing more discipline and oversight to the system?
Once again, change the eligibility criteria if you want to save the state significant money.
The fraud investigators they have should be able to ferret out significant systemic institutional fraud.
Tom C - please explain how changing eligibility thresholds or guidelines ensures program integrity...
Why should I try to explain that? It's got nothing to do with my point.
Look, the whole "adding more investigators" is your thing, not mine. You love investigators so much, then you can explain to me what a great job the ones we already have are doing.
Tom has no alternative other than using the Baldacci administration as his baseline. No place to go but up from there Tom! You have a 30 year institutionalized bureaucracy that you have to retrain to actually care about what happens with taxpayer money. I'm not talking about the rank and file here, but the supervisory echelon where I'm certain any past efforts were hampered. A FWA Program must be a top - down effort where employees feel empowered to report potential fraud. Increasing the number of investigators won't solve the problem by itself without clear direction from the top to put an end to the problem.
Tom has no alternative other than using the Baldacci administration as his baseline.
Jim, that's laughable. I posted many clear reasons why I'm not crazy about this idea and I've backed them up.
For some reason, though, the response has been to attack ME, even to accusing me of having a "professional interest" in NOT promoting this program!
Oh I'M the one with the professional interest, am I?
Or by saying that I supported this idea in the past by condemning Baldacci 's waste... however if you WERE to "investigate" my position on the matter by looking over my prior posts on DHS issues I think you'll see that I've been pretty consistent as to where I think the problems are.
Look, I haven't had to attack anyone personally to support my points. When YOU'RE side is reduced to baseless and almost mindless personal attacks, then you probably should give it up.
Increasing the number of investigators won't solve the problem by itself without clear direction from the top to put an end to the problem.
Now we're getting somewhere.
But, you still haven't proved your point.
You've finally admitted the investigators we have are worthless. (Although Robert Nutting might disagree. But then again, he and his supporters might agree. )
Now, IF it would be worthwhile to have investigators, THEN wouldn't it be more efficient just to "correct" the ones we already have - rather than just tacking on MORE expense to the system?
Otherwise, you're just trying to fix a failed government program by having more of it.
But then maybe you're right. Maybe I'M the problem!
MaineCare fraud occurs mostly on the service provider end, while TANF and SNAP fraud comes mostly from clients. Those are quite different situations. I know nothing about the current fraud investigators with DHHS. They may be competent or they may not be. I suspect they are mostly overloaded and overwhelmed. We do need more of them because the frontline people are so overworked they have no time to deal with fraud.
I suspect they are mostly overloaded and overwhelmed.
If it's a "target-rich environment" they should just be bring case after case.
If they're not, I don't think you can say the problem is that they don't because they are "overwhelmed".
MaineCare fraud occurs mostly on the service provider end