Queen Puppet and her "brilliance"

... are truly too much to behold.

By now we all know that North Carolina is another $60,000,000.00 in the hole because of Wos and the "DHHS Plan." As outlined in an editorial from the Charlotte Observer, the math seems simple; or does it?

Simply put, according to the editorial, here’s how the plan would work:

North Carolina would tax 10 managed-care organizations that provide behavioral health services to mentally ill or developmentally disabled Medicaid recipients. Those “assessments” would bring in $90 million for the state and allow it to draw down an additional $60 million in matching federal funds. The state would then give the $90 million back to the managed-care organizations and pocket the $60 million from the feds. Budget woes, solved.

But if all of that sounds a little like money laundering, well, yes. So DHHS officials shouldn’t have been surprised when their creative accounting – along with a similar gimmick from Pennsylvania – was rejected by the feds last week.

And, because the federal government knows that North Carolina is being run by a bunch of underhanded backwoods hick politicians who already rejected federal Medicaid dollars (and were elected by a bunch of ignorant backwoods hicks), their response was "Whoa, Jessie!" As one federal regulator initially surmised but then retracted "surmise" for fact; "these idiots are from Mars."

But one thing is certain; Queeny ain't going nowhere because she's their puppet.

Comments

Budget woes

Or budget Wos.

as reported by the Raleigh News & Observer, the following descriptions were used:

  • ploy
  • maneuver
  • "assessment", as the tax is known
  • gambit

Another case of the McCrony administration's hypocrisy about taking federal dollars when it suits their agenda (budget trickery) but refusing them when it doesn't (Medicaid expansion).

If Queen Aldona actually is brilliant, then she's an evil genius. But we don't buy the "genius" part.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Overpaid DHHS employees

First we had the McCrony kids, Ricky and Matt, who got jobs that weren't advertised and for which they weren't even close to qualified, at $85,000 and $87,500 per year, respectively (they received huge pay raises after Prevaricating Pat had put out an order to freeze state employee salaries).

Then there were the single-source consulting contracts for political cronies and friends of the Queen, amounting to more than half a million dollars for questionable work.

Of course, Aldona was just getting started. She then awarded single-source contracts that spent nearly $4 million of taxpayer money to two out-of-state firms. Both contracts were vague about the work to be performed; one contract included hourly rates of up to $473 per hour, with interns getting $84 per hour.

But even with all that wasteful, highly questionable spending, it seems to us that, at $1 per year, Queen Aldona remains the most grossly overpaid employee at DHHS.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

The big question

Considerig the plan worked like this ....

North Carolina would tax 10 managed-care organizations that provide behavioral health services to mentally ill or developmentally disabled Medicaid recipients. Those “assessments” would bring in $90 million for the state and allow it to draw down an additional $60 million in matching federal funds. The state would then give the $90 million back to the managed-care organizations and pocket the $60 million from the feds. Budget woes, solved.

Then I have to ask: Did Art Pope know about this and approve it? Was it his idea or Wos's?

This looks suspiciously like the convoluted schemes that the Koch's are known for to funnel money through different channels to skirt campaign fianance reporting laws and obscure the origin of their money.

If Pope approved this or came up with the idea - and I'm not confident that Wos is smart enough to think it up - then the Feds need to be looking closely at Pope's own trail of campaign cash and how he does business at Variety Wholesalers. Really, this is just stupid and underhanded.

Art the puppetmaster

apparently knew about the plan, based on reviews of various news reports. He claimed to rely on DHHS officials for their assurances that the feds would approve, but there's no way he put this $60 million in the budget without understanding the ploy.

Aldona didn't think it up (we agree, she's not that smart). As the report states, the idea has been around for a couple years.

Hiding money and moving it around among multiple pockets while distracting the audience is, indeed, a Pope-Koch specialty.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Crocodile tears flowed as

"Senate budget writers were irritated that DHHS officials had been discussing the plan for two years but requested federal permission only in the past few days. Sen. Ralph Hise, a Spruce Pine Republican, said that as recently as last week, DHHS officials told him that the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services would approve the measure." N&O

I can only guess that it took two years of celebratory back slapping and high fiving between legislative Republicans and "DHHS officials" while concluding that this "plan" was a genius piece of work that the feds would sign off on without blinking an eye.

And, Art probably uses one of those pocket calculators from Roses that only has a two digit screen and add function.

But they aren't underhanded

But they aren't "underhanded backwoods hicks." They are mostly transplants, or to be blunt, underhanded Carpetbaggers.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

You're right

"Underhanded backwoods hick" transplants and carpetbaggers from somewhere elected primarily by native NC "backwoods hicks."

I'd Be Nervous

I actually just started working in this field. Not for an MCO but for a Provider Agency. Not a lot of people I deal with were nervous about this situation, wrongly I think. First, do you really think the MCOs would have gotten all that 90 million dollars back? Second, these people now have it in their head that MCOs could, for at least a brief period of time, function short 90 million dollars. How long until they decide then that a permanent cut of 30 or 40 million wouldn't be such a big deal?

A seemingly reliable source

indicates that an NCGA audit of DHHS contracts found that 130 of 140 DHHS contracts were illegal (did not meet state contracting standards).

But we're not aware of one single Republican calling for Wos to be fired.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014