Ex-DPW chief wins $9.2k contract with state of Maine

Pennsylvania's controversial ex-welfare secretary has got a new gig.

The state of Maine has hired Gary Alexander's consulting firm to study the state's Medicaid system and examine Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The contract, for the Alexander Group, is worth nearly $1 million.

We think we already know what the advice will be.

Alexander's stormy, two-year tenure in the Corbett administration was marked by deep cuts to social service programs serving the disabled, elderly, women and children.

Alexander's was appointed to root out waste, fraud and abuse in the $10 billion Department of Welfare that serves 1.2 million Pennsylvanians.

But some would call the cost-cutting tactics he employed in Pennsylvania slash and burn.

To wit: He threw 130,000 people, including 80,000 children, off Medicaid and eliminated cash assistance for single adults. He imposed an asset test for food stamps and made it more difficult for low-income single parents to get daycare.

Alexander's decision to consolidate with one Boston-based company payments to those who provide care for the disabled led to thousands of low-wage home health workers failing to get pay checks for months.

That debacle was the subject of a recent audit by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale who found that the consolidation actually cost taxpayers millions.

Alexander also opposed expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.

He resigned in February to return to Rhode Island to "spend more time with his family."

Now Alexander's advice is being sought by Maine officials who want to find ways to trim the state's social services budget.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with such a knowledgeable group of experts,” said Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services in a press release.

“In the constantly shifting landscape of the Affordable Care Act and ever-changing rules from Washington, it will be extremely helpful to have someone with significant Medicaid experience lending a hand to our program reform efforts.”

Mayhew said Alexander also will be charged with examining Maine's "welfare-to-work" programs to ensure that those who are "able and desire employment can work."

Alexander's strategy to reform Pennsylvania's welfare-to-work program was cutting it by nearly 50 percent.






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