NH House Leaders Comment on Passage of Bill to Address Welfare Fraud

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today commented on the passage of House Bill 1658, which improves existing fraud-detection procedures in the Medicaid and welfare programs.  The objective is to more comprehensively identify and disqualify applicants and recipients who are defrauding the state.  The bill as amended requires the department of health and human services to seek bids and implement a system that uses additional readily available public- and private-sector data bases to verify residential and financial eligibility for state-funded services. The bill passed 245 to 84. 

House Speaker William O’Brien

“A recent independent audit of the food stamp and Medicaid program reveals disturbing evidence of significant fraud and abuse. If we can put controls in place to prevent welfare fraud, we can save money, better direct resources and bring one more opportunity to integrity in government.  I think we all, regardless of our party affiliation, can support the idea of using our resources for those in need, not those who are taking the system for a ride. There are 21st century technology tools available that can block welfare fraud, and we need to bring these to state government. We shouldn’t be putting millionaires on Medicaid, putting people in prison on welfare, or be paying bills for a person who has been deceased since 1983. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services argued in committee that the use of new technologies to discover fraud were unnecessary as there could not be any significant, undiscovered fraud—but this report just released shows that administrator laxness in the Lynch administration not only exists, but they want it to continue.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“For years we have been told that there is no such thing as welfare fraud in this state, yet after finally applying enough pressure to research the matter, our fears have been confirmed. Preliminary results have already shown that we have food stamp receipts that are dead, in prison, or have homes worth over $400,000. Results have also shown that as many as 9% of our food stamp receipts have primary addresses that are outside of our state. This bill works to implement the technologies that are readily available in order to find and eradicate this welfare fraud. This fraud is not only thievery from the taxpayer, but it is a great disservice to people in this state who truly need these services. This bill is another example of this Republican Majority’s focus and work on better, more transparent and more efficient government in this state.”