MHPC continues to drive welfare reformBy admin • Sep 7th, 2011 • Category: Me. Heritage Policy Center News
Many of the welfare reforms MHPC called for as part of our Fix the System initiative last year were adopted in the biennial budget by large bipartisan majorities. These include drug testing for convicted drug felons and timelines for receiving certain benefits.
Today, MHPC continues to drive the debate over welfare reform.
Last month, MHPC partnered with Americans for Prosperity-Maine to release a video from an undercover investigation of the Department of Health and Human Services Biddeford office showing just how vulnerable Maine’s welfare system is to fraud and abuse. A second video released by Americans for Prosperity-Maine was filmed at the Portland DHHS office. Based on that video, MHPC graded DHHS and the intake worker in four key areas.
Since the videos’ release, MHPC renewed its calls for reforms to address potential welfare fraud. Although some members of the media and the Professional Left* have sought to undermine welfare reform through vitriol and red herrings, many others have shown they understand just how important this issue is to Maine people.
Recently, Governor LePage told a Town Hall audience in Presque Isle he wants to more than double the number of fraud investigators from 11 to 32. And last week, the BDN reported that the Governor will propose the creation of “secret shoppers” to assess the performance of state offices and employees.
MHPC has championed the idea of secret shoppers to help combat welfare fraud. This private-sector tactic could be immensely helpful in identifying what is done well and what needs work in government. The Governor should be credited with taking this idea even further, and applying it not just to welfare fraud, but to all of state government.
MHPC will continue to advocate compassionate welfare reform that lifts people from government dependence and combats welfare fraud. We look forward to working with the Governor, his administration, and anyone else who would like a functioning safety net that incorporates accountability and hard work.
*Since Associate Professor Amy Fried became a regular Bangor Daily News columnist, two of her three columns have been about MHPC. Some consider that obsessive. We consider it an honor.