Florida drug testing welfare recipients costs more than it saves (title shortened)

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    Aug 27, 2011 2:21 PM GMT
    from joe.my.god:

    "Remember when FL Gov. Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott mandated that all welfare applicants pass a drug test before receiving benefits? It turns out that so few applicants are failing the test, the entire program will cost much more than it saves. That's probably no concern for Scott's wife, who has a financial interest in one of the companies doing the testing."

    TALLAHASSEE --

    Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

    Ninety-six percent proved to be drug free -- leaving the state on the hook to reimburse the cost of their tests.

    The initiative may save the state a few dollars anyway, bearing out one of Gov. Rick Scott's arguments for implementing it. But the low test fail-rate undercuts another of his arguments: that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs.

    At Scott's urging, the Legislature implemented the new requirement earlier this year that applicants for temporary cash assistance pass a drug test before collecting any benefits.

    The law, which took effect July 1, requires applicants to pay for their own drug tests. Those who test drug-free are reimbursed by the state, and those who fail cannot receive benefits for a year.

    Having begun the drug testing in mid-July, the state Department of Children and Families is still tabulating the results. But at least 1,000 welfare applicants took the drug tests through mid-August, according to the department, which expects at least 1,500 applicants to take the tests monthly.

    So far, they say, about 2 percent of applicants are failing the test; another 2 percent are not completing the application process, for reasons unspecified.

    Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.

    That compares with roughly $32,200-$48,200 the state may save on one month's worth of rejected applicants.


    The savings assume that 20 to 30 people -- 2 percent of 1,000 to 1,500 tested -- fail the drug test every month. On average, a welfare recipient costs the state $134 in monthly benefits, which the rejected applicants won't get, saving the state $2,680-$3,350 per month.

    But since one failed test disqualifies an applicant for a full year's worth of benefits, the state could save $32,200-$48,200 annually on the applicants rejected in a single month.

    Net savings to the state -- $3,400 to $8,200 annually on one month's worth of rejected applicants. Over 12 months, the money saved on all rejected applicants would add up to $40,800-$98,400 for the cash assistance program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year.Actual savings will vary, however, since not all of the applicants denied benefits might have actually collected them for the full year. Under certain circumstances, applicants who failed their drug test can reapply for benefits after six months.

    The as-yet uncalculated cost of staff hours and other resources that DCF has had to spend on implementing the program may wipe out most or all of the apparent savings, said Derek Newton, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. The program will grow costlier yet, he said, if it draws a legal challenge.

    The ACLU has been threatening for months that it may challenge the constitutionality of the program; Tuesday, Newton said his group is still weighing a lawsuit.

    DCF spokesman Joe Follick said that families and accountability are the main focuses of the program.

    "The taxpayers deserve to know that the money they are spending is being used for its intended purpose," he said. "In this case, with [temporary cash assistance], the purpose is to help families become independent and self-sufficient. If a family receiving [cash assistance] includes someone who has a substance abuse problem, the odds of that money being used for purposes other than helping that family increases."

    More than once, Scott has said publicly that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population. The 2 percent test fail rate seen by DCF, however, does not bear that out.

    According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, performed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 8.7 percent of the population nationally over age 12 uses illicit drugs. The rate was 6.3 percent for those ages 26 and up.

    A 2008 study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy also showed that 8.13 percent of Floridians age 12 and up use illegal drugs.

    Newton said that's proof the drug-testing program is based on a stereotype, not hard facts.

    "This is just punishing people for being poor, which is one of our main points," he said. "We're not testing the population at-large that receives government money; we're not testing people on scholarships, or state contractors. So why these people? It's obvious-- because they're poor."

    Scott's office did not respond to a request for comment.

    News story for above is here:


    http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2011/aug/24/3/welfare-drug-testing-yields-2-percent-positive-res-ar-252458/

    Maddow Rips FL Gov. Rick Scott (VIDEO)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1CA1gLR7KQ&feature=player_embedded#t=75s
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 27, 2011 4:06 PM GMT
    Scott has had and continues to have the lowest approval rating for any governor in history and it started that way BEFORE he took office! The repubs here are embarrassed that they got hoodwinked by this crook in the first place. But, thats what happens when you're so blinded by hatred ya cant see straight.. ya run off a cliff!
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    Aug 27, 2011 4:12 PM GMT
    This is why he does so well in the http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/1767400 worst governor poll
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    Aug 27, 2011 6:48 PM GMT
    http://www.politifact.com/rhode-island/statements/2011/aug/26/doreen-costa/rep-costa-says-drug-testing-welfare-recipients-wil/Rep. Doreen Costa, of North Kingstown, a Republican and member of the Rhode Island Tea Party, thinks the state could save money by requiring welfare recipients to pass a drug test. She is proposing that Rhode Island adopt a law modeled after one enacted in Florida, which took effect July 1.
    ...
    To sum up: Costa, when asked about her proposal to test welfare recipients for drugs, didn't predict specific savings for Rhode Island, only that "The studies have shown us that it will be saving us money."

    But she was unable to produce any studies to back up that claim.

    The ones we found showed that the costs to the state exceed any savings.

    And Rhode Island can't save money by kicking people off the welfare rolls because federal funds finance the payments, and the federal government does not allow states to keep money saved through mandatory drug testing.

    We rate her statement False.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Aug 27, 2011 8:05 PM GMT
    I'm glad this isn't working out as Scott suggested. I don't know why Scott and the rest of the teabaggers are going after the poor — people who are struggling to stay afloat. Are they looking to create more homeless people by taking them off welfare?
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    Aug 27, 2011 8:20 PM GMT
    creature saidI'm glad this isn't working out as Scott suggested. I don't know why Scott and the rest of the teabaggers are going after the poor — people who are struggling to stay afloat. Are they looking to create more homeless people by taking them off welfare?


    problem with welfare certainly in my country Oz, is it makes people lazy, and not want to work, because we give them enough hand outs to help them survive. Cheap housing and medical care. To increase their income they sell drugs too. Would it be a bad thing to start to drug test them; nope. But then one does live in the lucky country, and not America.......
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    Aug 27, 2011 8:21 PM GMT
    creature saidI'm glad this isn't working out as Scott suggested. I don't know why Scott and the rest of the teabaggers are going after the poor — people who are struggling to stay afloat. Are they looking to create more homeless people by taking them off welfare?



    These were Goebbels' tactics in selling The big Lie in Germany to seize power.


    1. Foster a Feeling of Victimhood
    2. Focus blame on a Minority Group - preferably one that encompasses the greatest number of your critics

    Discredit critics with denigrating labels

    3. An appeal to emotion is more effective than appeals to reason when whipping up mob.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Aug 27, 2011 8:32 PM GMT
    Upper_Canadian said
    creature saidI'm glad this isn't working out as Scott suggested. I don't know why Scott and the rest of the teabaggers are going after the poor — people who are struggling to stay afloat. Are they looking to create more homeless people by taking them off welfare?



    These were Goebbels' tactics in selling The big Lie in Germany to seize power.


    1. Foster a Feeling of Victimhood
    2. Focus blame on a Minority Group - preferably one that encompasses the greatest number of your critics

    Discredit critics with denigrating labels

    3. An appeal to emotion is more effective than appeals to reason when whipping up mob.


    Well they're doing a good job of it. I see them using the victim card quite frequently and perpetuating an us vs. them mentality (i.e. mainstream media vs Fox News (Fox is not mainstream?), gotcha questions, elites, etc.).