State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Today, Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously to approve an audit of all of Wisconsin’s Medical Assistance (MA) programs. I was pleased to finally cast my vote in favor of this much-needed audit. MA includes the traditional medical program serving the elderly, blind, and disabled, as well as BadgerCare Plus, which primarily serves low-income children, their families, single adults, and pregnant women.
The scope of the audit is identical to a proposal from January of last year that was blocked by Democrats. State Auditor Janice Mueller explained that this will be a large and wide-ranging audit, including complete analyses of benefit expenditures and administrative expenses.
Importantly, Auditor Mueller expressed hope that some parts of the audit will be done by June of this year, meaning that any recommendations could be implemented in our next budget. To achieve this goal, Legislative Audit Bureau will begin the MA audit by identifying and concentrating on the areas which can add the most value to the budget debate. I certainly welcome this good news, which will save taxpayers more money and improve government efficiency.
This audit is critical to our effort to chip away at the project budget deficit, as Wisconsin’s Medical Assistance Program expenditures totaled $6.7 billion in fiscal year 2009-10 and have been expanding rapidly. I believe that a thorough audit will identify many areas where we can clean up government waste, much like the recent audit of the Wisconsin Shares child care program. The 2009 audit of that program turned up a completely unacceptable amount of fraud, abuse, and unnecessary spending.
Newly-appointed DHS Medicaid Director Brett Davis emphasized that he fully supported the MA audit. “We want complete transparency for the taxpayers,” he told the Audit Committee. I completely agree, and I eagerly anticipate the results of this audit.