Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

I want an audit of BadgerCare


I have released the following news release about BadgerCare:



Request is made to ensure effective services when resources are limited

FOR IMMMEDIATE RELEASE                             Contact: Sen. Lazich

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009                           Phone: (608)266-5400

(MADISON) - State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) has formally asked the

co-chairpersons of the Joint Committee on Audit to request that the Legislative

Audit Bureau conduct a full review of the state’s BadgerCare program.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Lazich said. “We are still trying to figure out

all the things that went wrong with Wisconsin Shares, and we still haven’t learned

our lessons from the food stamp debacle a few years ago. State resources are

very limited, yet the state is attempting to expand existing programs like

BadgerCare. We owe it to the taxpayers to ensure their money is being spent as

wisely and efficiently as possible,” Lazich said.

“As the state proceeds with plans to expand BadgerCare without sufficient

resources, the Legislative Audit Bureau can identify inefficiencies or problems

that the Department of Health Services can utilize to assist more individuals

properly and effectively,” said Lazich. “I would hope the department would be

more than willing to allow the nationally-recognized, non-partisan Audit Bureau to

scope out waste and inefficiency.”

Lazich’s request comes as the Audit Bureau continues to review the state

taxpayer-funded Wisconsin Shares child care program. A Milwaukee Journal

Sentinel investigation turned up astounding levels of fraud in Wisconsin Shares,

identifying nearly $750,000 in suspicious child care disbursements. Since then,

the Audit Bureau has estimated that fraud and errors cost Wisconsin taxpayers

$16.7 million to $18.5 million last year alone. Problems included lack of

documentation, payments during periods of ineligibility, illegal immigrants

receiving benefits, and child care rings, with friends and family members paid by

the state to take turns caring for each others’ children.

“The controversy swirling around the Wisconsin Shares child care program

should have been noticed long ago, and should not have happened at all

because the state should have learned from its food stamp mess a few years

ago,” said Lazich.

During 2003, the Audit Bureau reported that “Wisconsin’s food stamp benefit

payment error rate…has been at an historical high of 4.4 percentage points

above the national average. Since FFY 1993-94, the federal government has

imposed a total of $10.6 million in sanctions as a result of Wisconsin’s high error

rates. Wisconsin had the third-worst error rate in the nation during these two

years (FFY 2000-01 and 2001-02). Only California and Michigan had higher

error rates than Wisconsin.”

“Serious errors happened in the food stamp program, followed by fraud in

Wisconsin Shares,” said Lazich. “Where else are errors and fraud happening?

Are these isolated occurrences, affecting only food stamps and child care?

Where there is smoke, there is fire. Here we are after the food stamp debacle,

wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer money paying for child care

scams. The respected Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau can provide preventative medicine to ensure the state does not repeat previous scandals.”

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