John Frary’s column of April 6, “It’s an election year, but welfare reform is not a discussion to avoid,” is full of distortions and exaggerations, and severely lacking in facts.
Adding 70,000 people to MaineCare is not adding to Maine’s welfare rolls — health care is not welfare. And his “personal knowledge” about welfare abuse is just more anecdotal blabber. This mysterious “A” that he introduced to the governor and the “many people (who) have told (him) they have personal knowledge about people who have abused the system” are still but a few instances of purported abuse, and hardly representative of the many thousands who are legitimately on welfare, in genuine need of the support, and cannot survive without it.
I also have personal knowledge of some of those 70,000 who are in desperate need of the promised benefits of MaineCare expansion. Frary can hardly deny the heart-wrenching stories told in the halls of the State House by those who came to lobby their legislators and spoke about their personal circumstances of poverty, illness and debilitating disabilities, even as they struggled with low-paying jobs, some while continuing training and education efforts to improve their chances in a very dismal job market while, in many cases, continuing to raise a family.
His examples are but a mere representation of the well-documented tiny fraction of welfare recipients who abuse the system, as opposed to the vast majority of recipients who are in genuine need of the assistance that they receive and are trying to not need in the future.
Democrats do not merely “deny that there’s a serious problem with welfare abuse.” Numerous studies, and even a 2010 article in these papers, have borne out that there is no such problem, especially in Maine where only about 0.2 percent of cases are fraudulent.