Welfare Reforms Designed To Prevent Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Lehigh/Berks) supports legislation that makes sweeping reforms to the Public Welfare Code and will bring forth much-needed and long-awaited reform to the state welfare system.
“I supported the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) reform bill, which requires DPW to be verifying Social Security numbers of applicants for public assistance against 19 different electronic databases to determine whether the applicant is eligible to receive welfare benefits,” said Reichley.
The Income Eligibility Verification System is designed to prevent waste, fraud and abuse by determining up front whether someone is eligible to receive public assistance.
The bill addresses several issues to ensure the DPW budget is in balance, such as:
- Establishing the special allowance program.
- Implementing copayments for subsidized child care.
- Establishing eligibility of persons who have been convicted of drug-related felonies.
- Establishing eligibility of individuals in correctional institutions.
- Clarifying medical assistance payments to nursing homes and managed care organizations.
- Allowing DPW to establish medical assistance benefits for dental and pharmacy services for individuals 21 years of age or older.
- Changing the medical assistance payment policy to hospitals paid through diagnosis-related groups for readmissions
- Establishing copayments for families of disabled children receiving medical assistance whose income is above 200 percent of the federal poverty limit.
- Making technical changes to the hospital assessment.
- Establishing provisions for inmate medical costs.
“A number of critical proposals were packaged into the welfare reform bill,” said Reichley. “We discovered that millions were being spent by DPW just to verify who is eligible for certain programs so in effect, needed assistance was being squandered on administrative costs rather than getting to eligible people in need,” said Reichley.
Audits of DPW by Auditor General Jack Wagner have revealed widespread fraud and abuse, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The new state budget, which has been approved by the governor, contains about $400 million in welfare savings while protecting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
State Representative Douglas Reichley
134th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Todd Abele