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Rep. Fredette (left) and Willette (right).
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2 State House Station
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For Immediate Release

Date: 11/19/13

House Republicans Voice Support of DHHS Independent Welfare Review

Alexander Group to help reverse decades of liberal welfare mismanagement

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today voiced support of the LePage Administration's decision to contract with independent Medicaid experts to help improve Maine's welfare system.

The Alexander Group, which will conduct the review, was founded by Gary Alexander, a former head of welfare departments in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. His consultancy will undertake a complete review of the cost and efficiency of all welfare programs within Maine's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), including a study of the short- and long-term costs of welfare expansion under ObamaCare.

"I'm glad to see the LePage Administration take yet another important step in bringing accountability and cost savings to Maine's welfare system by initiating this third-party review," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "I look forward to seeing the results of this partnership because for too long, past administrations let welfare waste and spending grow to an unsustainable level."

Medicaid spending has doubled as a share of the state budget over the past 15 years, and now accounts for one quarter of all state spending. Past Medicaid expansions in Maine resulted in $500 million in welfare debt to hospitals and enrollment levels that more than doubled projections.

"I applaud the Administration's decision to seek outside expertise in reining in runaway welfare spending," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton. "We don't have a clear picture of exactly how much Medicaid expansion would cost over the long term, so that will be an important element of this review. Medical welfare puts a massive hole in our budget every year and this review will help find ways to fix this broken program."

The Republican leaders emphasized the importance of state government being prepared to deal with ongoing problems with the federal government health care takeover.

"Democrats want to simply pass welfare expansion regardless of cost, but I believe we should better educate ourselves about the fiscal consequences of signing up for ObamaCare's expansion, especially with the continued broken promises coming out of Washington," added Rep. Fredette.

David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793