Blog Archive

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Search for the Elusive Welfare Queen.


As many of you know, I’ve been after a new hip/ankle/knee, for some time. About 6 years.
I’ve had zero success, with Government Healthcare…whether Disability, Medicaid, Indigent Care…or with “Charity”(I can’t find any).
My illness has led to my attempting to get the dreaded “Food Stamps”, on several occasions, over the years…with very limited results:twice…and the last time is right now…although, I still have yet to see a Lone Star Card in the mailbox.
I have found dealing with the myriad Agencies and Departments Byzantine and Utterly Incomprehensible.
I have endeavored to get help with Senators and Representatives, State and Federal…with little success…and a lot more BS.
This is all related in many posts, throughout my little blog.
(search for “Health care”)
During this time, my many Conservative friends…and many Conservatives who are not, but were not shy…have repeated the Narrative of the “Welfare Queen”.
I have never, save for one time, known someone who fits that description…But, that’s just my personal experience.
What about actual evidence. The Narrative is everywhere, after all…go to the coffee shop, and ask a random old man about”Welfare”, and get an earful about all those lazy, good fer nuthin moochers…
I set out, this morning, in search of actual, verifiable Evidence, to back up this Narrative.
Nothing.

Nothing. I went to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Office of Inspector General(which was 3 pages in to a google search for ”welfare fraud Texas”, after much circular sourcing on Right Wing Websites)…so I looked around THHSC,OIG’s website…and finally ended up here:

(http://oig.hhsc.state.tx.us/Reports/OIG%20Annual%20Report%20FY2010%20-%20Final%20Approved.pdf)

Here’s the only thing in their report that I saw, that was in any way relevant to my Question:

Aside from the prevention functions listed here, the Office of Inspector General has undertaken other

initiatives designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. These include:

……

Recipient data matches, including data matches to prevent payment to incarcerated persons, persons

receiving benefits in other states, persons whose income is higher than they reported, and persons

who are deceased.”

That’s it…18 pages of, essentially, “What we do”…3 pages of “Glossary”(which was more than useless)…and one page of “Data”…In which Chart, I did find: “Cost Avoided-$4.6 Billion”, which is defined as all fraud, from the lowliest Peasant, to the biggest Corporation, and every medical equipment delivery service, doctor’s office and hospital, in between…Aggregate! All of them lumped in, together, without distinction.
So I called them.
Nice enough lady answered, I stated my purpose: Concerned Citizen Tax Payer, looking for information about Welfare Queens.
She had no idea what I was talking about!
I attempted to clarify…Welfare Fraud, by Individuals…have you never heard of this?
She said that No, she had never heard of this.
She then “transferred me to an answering machine. I left my information…I’ll report back, if they call me.
So then I called THHSC’s “Ombudsman’s” Office…nice guy, Mark…didn’t really know…transferred me to a “Resolution Specialist”….nice girl, watches Fox…and has never heard of the “Welfare Narrative”…how welfare recipients are a bunch of lazy, murderous crackheads, living large on taxpayer dollars.

She tried to help(“ so you want a list of EVERYONE?”)
Ended up doing a google search for me.
Resulting in this:

(http://oig.hhs.gov/publications/docs/hcfac/hcfacreport2010.pdf)

Out of which, I extracted this:
As a result of educating beneficiaries, the projects received over 60,000 inquiries in 2009 from or on behalf of beneficiaries and resolved over 99 percent of the inquiries during this period. In addition, as a result of educational efforts, SMP projects received 3,052 complex issues—i.e., beneficiary complaints requiring further research, assistance, case development and/or referral. While the SMP program staff was able to resolve 2,588 complex issues for beneficiaries during 2009, an additional 966 of these issues, with an estimated dollar value of $3.8 million, were referred to law enforcement, CMS integrity contractors, state Medicaid Fraud Control Units, or other entities for further action. During this period, HHS/OIG documented that almost $565,000 in healthcare expenditures were avoided and over $214,000 in Medicare, Medicaid and other savings resulted from actions taken by the SMP program.”

Which seems to be the closet thing to what I’m looking for.

Still doesn’t distinguish between institutional, corporate, doctor etc Fraud, and the Individual Fraud I’m looking for.

I am frikkin Amazed!


So I finally find a Public Relations number at the (Federal) HHS, OIG…she says,”we don’t do welfare fraud…that’s a state issue”.
!!!!!! “They have an OIG…”

Jeeez!
Surely there is some factual information at the root of such a widely held belief…
Here’s some assertions representative of what I’m finding.

(http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/05/24/Crackdown-on-Food-Stamp-Fraud-A-$750m-a-Year-Scam.aspx)


Here’s WIKI:(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supplemental_Nutrition_Assistance_Program#Fraud_and_abuse)

FTA:” According to the Government Accountability Office, at a 2009 count, 4.36% of food stamps benefits were found to be overpaid, down from 9.86% in 1999.[17] A 2003 analysis found that two-thirds of all improper payments were the fault of the caseworker, not the participant.[17] There are also instances of fraud involving exchange of food stamp benefits for cash and/or for items not eligible for purchase with food stamps.[18] In 2011, the Michigan program was revised after it was discovered that about 26,000 full-time college students were receiving monthly food stamp benefits.[19])”

Here’s footnote 18, from that wiki page:( http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2010/03/food-stamp_fraud_detroit-area.html)


Everything I’ve found, so far, regarding Fraud in “Welfare”…be it Food stamps, the various and sundry Healthcare programs…all of it has to do with “businesses”…colluding with “individuals”…but all we ever hear about is the Individuals…the Proverbial Welfare Queens, on Crack, driving a Taxpayer Provided Limousine, and pulling in $100,000 in filthy lucre….taking Hawaiian Vacations, at Taxpayer expense…
I don’t understand.
This narrative is widespread…I’m certain that I haven’t imagined it.

I’ve suspected, all along, that it was total BS…perhaps there were a few isolated cases, but nothing as widespread as the Narrative would indicate. Since Reagan first launched this Narrative, things have been put in place to reduce, drastically, whatever Individual Fraud existed.
Indeed, one of the things I routinely throw at my Republican Friends, is the fact that I…a Mad Genius, with an IQ of 180…cannot seem to Legitimately Benefit from the Welfare System, despite my obvious need for such things ( no one who knows me, no one who has seen me, no one in government that has talked to me, has ever, ever disputed my right to and eligibility for, such programs)

So, here I am, searching diligently, for any evidence that this widespread fraud, by Po Folks, is actually occurring.
Next up…a call to my State Rep, Harvey Hildebran®. (funny, that spell check translated an “r “ after his name and the symbol for ‘registered’ trademark,lol)

(http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=53)
….but, it appears to be Lunchtime, at the Rep’s office. Wonder how long their Lunch Break is….?

12:21 Lima.

meanwhile: (http://www.window.state.tx.us/tpr/tprgg/hhs19pa9.txt)

what there is of it, seems kinda small…and , again, no distinction is made between fraud by businesses, and individuals.
LOL (http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/fraudtaskforce/)

this is a long plea for fixing the, apparently, toothless and ineffectual sub agency in charge of the presumed rampant welfare fraud. No links to evidence of the actual existence of rampant welfare fraud by individuals.

Wow! Finally! Here’s 12 (Twelve) Texas Inmates, serving time for “Welfare Fraud,$750-20,000”…( http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/texas-prisons/crimes/welfare-fraud-750-20000/130/#sex_chart)

Sorry this is all so long and rambling(more than usual)…but I honestly expected the information I’m seeking to be easy to find.
Here’s USDA’s “quality control report 2010”…a quote…

“FY 2010 was another year of excellent

performance in payment accuracy in SNAP.

The payment error rate in SNAP for

FY 2010 is 3.81 percent. This is the lowest

National payment error rate in the history of

SNAP.

The SNAP negative error rate for fiscal year

FY 2010 is 8.43 percent. The FY 2009

negative error rate is 9.41 percent.”

This seems to only involve fuckups by the various government agencies…NOT intentional Fraud by all the crack smoking whores out there, sponging off the system(sic)….

I guess I’ll try Rep Hildebrand, again….13:27 Lima….surely an hour and a half is sufficient time for Lunch…
and, yes…the nice man at Rep Hildebran’s office at least knew what I was referring to. He hmmm-ed and haawwwed…said”well…..”

And finally provided me with a link to a “Think Tank”, that might be able to help me in my quest.
I knew already that (http://www.texaspolicy.com/index.php) was a Right Wing Group…I’ve read their “products”, before…many times.
There’s a lot of info…but so far, only policy recommendations are evident…things they’d like to see implemented to “handle the problem of welfare fraud”….without ever getting around to proving that there is rampant fraud, to begin with.
It’s an Assumption.
I’m calling them, right now.
( here’s their little report on the Texas Model of Healthcare…how all those lefties have it all wrong, and that everything would be great in Texas, if all those Illegals would leave(http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2011-08-PB38-TexasModel-Uninsured-CHCP-SpencerHarris.pdf)
This is representative of what ya find there…so I expect whomever answers the phone to expel a considerable amount of bullshit)

>>>>>>>

Sure enough….
The 28 year old staffer kinda knew what I was after…he sent me to another VoiceMail…at their Center for Fiscal Policy…someone named James Quintero(sp-2).
I explained that I have been searching, all day, for the elusive Welfare Queen…the Individual, not the many businesses who screw the government…the Individual…and cannot find any….aside from a very few, isolated cases.

In my experience, with Government, and Think Tanks, as well as Corporations, a Voice Mail Box is, generally, a Dead End.(unless you lie…which I won’t do)

I’ll report, if I hear back from any of these people…
In the meantime…
Result of my 6 hours , and an unknown expenditure on my phone bill(no-one had 800 numbers, save for my Rep):
The Welfare Queen, sponging off the taxpayer, smoking crack in Hawaii, , all on the taxpayer’s dime….is a MYTH!

Fraud, on an individual level, appears to be almost nonexistent!








3 comments:

  1. Ok, I'll bite.

    I worked at a grocery store, the biggest national chain of 'em, and we had a few welfare abusers. If you're carrying a Louis Vuitton purse, have perfect hair and nails, and are using a Lone Star card, you're an abuser. Simple as that. Those purses cost as much as my current entire month's worth of expenses and twice as much as my monthly pay working at said grocery story.

    But we had SO MANY MORE people trying to bounce checks or use stolen debit cards than chicks with bling using food stamps. And I hated when I had to tell a woman using WIC or a family using food stamps that they had items that weren't covered. :( It was really sad to feel like I was taking food from them.

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    1. Also, I want to add, since there's the stereotype of women abusing the system, the majority of those trying to bounce checks or use stolen cards were men. So there. While it's always the norm to paint the lower class people (women, in this case) of any society as thieves and criminals always trying to take from the upper class, the theory is dead in the water. The only thing alive and well is the paranoid sexism of those in higher social standing.

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  2. I agree...to a point.(vittoin). Even I, in my great distance from anything resembling "Fashion"....even I know that there's a rather large black market for knockoffs.(Law and Order,SVU,lol). Unknown variable, there.
    The Point, in this little tangent, is that we have no idea, the circumstances...we make Assumptions, based on appearance. Period.
    The Buddy who's repetition of the Meme drove me to this exercise, always(every time) misses this essential consideration...the Foundational Unexamined Assumptions, that shore up his Belief/Argument.The whole list of Logical Fallacies...we are automatic Experts.
    We are Beset by such Assumptions...and they are constantly reinforced by media, and by our fellow citizens...this is a Big Problem, re; everything from Peak Oil, to the Moral/ Ethical stances we use to conceive of, and sometimes implement, Policy.

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