HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Contact: Kevin Curry, 503-986-1351
HOUSE REPUBLICANS CALL FOR ACTION ON FRAUD & ABUSE
Will Request Full House Vote on Five Bills
SALEM, OR - House Republicans will call for a full vote on five bills Wednesday in an effort to address fraud and abuse issues within Oregon’s public assistance programs. A recent audit from Secretary of State Kate Brown identified serious fraud issues and called on the Legislature and Governor Kitzhaber to take action.
“Leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for action on this issue and it is time the Legislature addressed it,” said Rep. Bruce Hanna, who raised the issue on May 21st from the House Floor. “With an increase in demand for these services and increased budget pressure to pay for them, we cannot afford to ignore fraud and abuse. We must ensure money is going to help those in need and not being stolen via fraud.”
The bills were referred to the House Human Services and Housing Committee but not scheduled for public hearings. Further, an attempt to amend Senate Bill 757 to create a task force to examine fraud within the food stamp program failed when the bill was not scheduled for a hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee despite passing the Senate unanimously.
“The Secretary of State’s audit identified millions in waste and fraud from just a sampling of cases. I am hopeful that all members of the Oregon House recognize the need for reform and support these bills on Wednesday,” said Rep. Gail Whitsett (R – Klamath Falls). “These bills are a good first step toward creating systems to identify and correct fraud and abuse within the system.”
The bills are:
· HB 2717: Permits the Dept. of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority to suspend public assistance to a recipient who fails – without good cause – to provide requested documentation in connection with a possible overpayment of public assistance.
· HB 2718: Requires the Dept. of Human Services to establish a registry of individuals and families receiving social services from state and county agencies to enable these agencies to coordinate and not duplicate the provision of services.
· HB 2721: Requires public employees involved in administration of public assistance to report suspected fraud using procedures adopted by the Dept. of Human Services or Oregon Health Authority.
· HB 3252: Requires electronic benefits transfer cards to display the photograph of all adults authorized to use it.
· HB 3322: Requires the Department of Human Services to ensure that electronic benefits transfer cards cannot be used to purchase prepaid credit cards.