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 have released the following news release about BadgerCare:
LAZICH CALLS FOR FULL AUDIT OF BADGERCARE PROGRAM
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
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
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
$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 “
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
years (FFY 2000-01 and 2001-02). Only
error rates than
“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.”