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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Friday, December 13, 2019

St. Paul – Today, Governor Tim Walz announced that his administration has hired a firm to examine the ongoing problems at Minnesota’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). The firm, Public Sector Consultants, will be tasked with evaluating strategies potentially to break up the agency into smaller pieces.

However, Public Sector Consultants will also develop the criteria that Minnesota will use to hire another firm that will implement the potential break-up of DHS.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski reacted to this latest news saying, “Essentially, the Governor is using tax dollars to hire multiple consulting firms to do his job for him. He is staffing out the responsibilities of his office rather than making the tough decisions himself. Tim Walz ran for governor to make changes, right? Why is he standing on the sidelines and letting someone else take charge?”

Additionally, the legislative director of DHS has confirmed that the former DHS Inspector General, Carolyn Ham, has retained her six-figure salary in her new position at DHS despite an exhaustive investigation into her conduct as inspector general.

Earlier this year, legislative auditors identified persistent fraud in the Office of the Inspector General and the DHS Child Care Assistance Program. Despite an investigation into the failures of Carolyn Ham, no action was taken to rectify the situation.

“DHS is a mess,” Rep. Drazkowski said. “A failed, and incompetent employee has been allowed to stay at the agency and make exorbitant pay despite mismanagement. For years, DHS has been too bloated and too mismanaged to function properly.”

Rep. Drazkowski continued, “There are no checks and balances at DHS. I have been calling for strict oversight for years. In 2015 and 2017, I carried major reform bills that passed the House and would have used savings accrued from hiring a private sector data analytics firm to help eliminate the hundreds of millions of dollars of documented Medicaid fraud, just as has been done in other states. However, Democrats fought us tooth and nail and rejected it in final budget negotiations. As we have seen, they simply want to throw more money at failing institutions.”

In addition to Rep. Drazkowski’s focus on these issues, the New House Republican Caucus, which he leads drafted a Reform Budget that would have cut the HHS budget by $2 Billion, streamlining fraud-laden Child Care and other programs, and eliminating waste fraud and abuse.

The New House Republican Caucus is led by Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Republican – Mazeppa). The caucus includes Rep. Jeremy Munson (Republican – Lake Crystal), Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican – East Bethel), and Rep. Tim Miller (Republican – Prinsburg).


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