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98 percent of Florida welfare applicants pass drug test - Cost state $178 million


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http://www.flcourier.com/fleditorial/6112-98-percent-of-welfare-applicants-pass-drug-test

By Jenee Desmond-Harris, The Root.com - Thanks to Florida Gov. Rick Scott's insistence that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population, the state's Legislature implemented a policy earlier this year requiring all applicants for temporary cash assistance to pass a drug test before getting any help.

The results: Ninety-eight percent passed. And the process will cost the state $178 million.

The Tampa Tribune reports that the Department of Children and Families says about 2 percent of applicants are failing the test and another 2 percent are not completing the application process for unspecified reasons.

Here's the Tribune's assessment of how much the state will pay:

Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.

That compares with roughly $32,200-$48,200 the state may save on one month’s worth of rejected applicants.

Net savings to the state: $3,400 to $5,000 annually on one month’s worth of rejected applicants. Over 12 months, the money saved on all rejected applicants would add up to $40,800 to $60,000 for a program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year.

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Rick Scott was the owner of the Drug Testing Company btw. So he basically just got a big ******* check from the tax payers in florida.

Is this an example of small government conservatism at work?

what are some other other popular myths? poor people will always be poor & throwing money at the school system will raise test scores---a couple of my favorites

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Rick Scott was the owner of the Drug Testing Company btw. So he basically just got a big ******* check from the tax payers in florida.

Is this an example of small government conservatism at work?

I don't understand how a company owned by the governor got this contract. I work at a construction company that bids strictly gov't work and the affidavits that we have to sign proving we are not in collusion with a gov't agency, politicians, etc. is 90% of the paperwork that I prepare for the bid.

I also think that people have a straight forward view of people on welfare. This economy and job market have created a welfare recipient we have never seen before.

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I also think that people have a straight forward view of people on welfare. This economy and job market have created a welfare recipient we have never seen before.

I don't know about that. There have always been legitimate recipients and there have always been illegitimate recipients.
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I don't know about that. There have always been legitimate recipients and there have always been illegitimate recipients.

Yes there has always been the two opposites.

But the strain this economy has put on families in general forced a lot of people to apply for benefits that normally wouldn't have or needed to .

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He did lol...

I think quite a few people taking the drug test probably used part of their previous welfare check to take a trip to GNC.

I've told this story on here before but it's still funny...

My brother-in-law used to occasionally partake of some weed... He was interviewing for a new job and they asked for a drug test. Knowing that he could fail the pee test, he goes to his friend (who also partook) and asked where he could find some 'clean' urine. The guy convinces his 17 year old daughter to pee in a container and give it to my brother-in-law so she does. My brother-in-law goes through great trouble to bring the container of his friend's 17 year old daughter's pee into the bathroom where the pee test was. He even had it pretty much strapped to his body so it would be 'body temperature' when he delivered it. He even accidentally spilled some on his clothes in the process... :lol: So he finally pours the 17 year old friend daughter pee into the drug test pee cup, carefully cleans everything up, and hands over the cup. Then he gets a call a few days later that said "Sir, I'm afraid your urine tested positive for COCAINE". Needless to say he didn't get the job. He tells his friend who in turn asks his daughter "Honey, do you do cocaine?" She's like "Nope" and that's the end of it... :lol:

The point isn't that people on welfare don't use drugs...

The point is government drug testing is dumb, doesn't work and is a waste of money and resources..

They would have been better off spending that 178 million on treatment, instead of playing this cat and mouse game that they are obviously too slow to win...

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The point isn't that people on welfare don't use drugs...

The point is government drug testing is dumb, doesn't work and is a waste of money and resources..

They would have been better off spending that 178 million on treatment, instead of playing this cat and mouse game that they are obviously too slow to win...

And with a little research, I found out that if the applicant fails the drug screen they can designate someone else receive the benefits!!

So what is the point?

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I agree with this part... If people *know* they are going to take a drug test they can take a trip to GNC, clean out their system, etc... before taking the test.

In the military they have surprise drug tests where they could just pull you aside out of the blue and test you. That method is far more effective. Military people are even afraid to be in the same room as someone smoking a J because their worried it might show up as a blip on their random test.

Says the fascist authoritarian.

So lame. So very, very lame.

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He did lol...

I think quite a few people taking the drug test probably used part of their previous welfare check to take a trip to GNC.

so in other words the republican governor of florida was outsmarted by drug addict welfare recipients to the tune of costing the florida tax payers 177,960,000 US american dolla billz?!

thats not going to look good come re-election time.

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And with a little research, I found out that if the applicant fails the drug screen they can designate someone else receive the benefits!!

So what is the point?

Even better, what's the point of skirting the test if you can get benefits anyway?

So stupid. $178M right into the governor's pocket. So gross.

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Even better, what's the point of skirting the test if you can get benefits anyway?

So stupid. $178M right into the governor's pocket. So gross.

I'd like to see the information indicating "$178 million" went "right into the governor's pocket." I haven't seen those dots connected yet, just allegations.

Not saying it isn't true, and in fact I'm asking precisely because I want to know whether to add Gov. Scott to my list of thieves in government.

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I'd like to see the information indicating "$178 million" went "right into the governor's pocket." I haven't seen those dots connected yet, just allegations.

Not saying it isn't true, and in fact I'm asking precisely because I want to know whether to add Gov. Scott to my list of thieves in government.

Either way it didn't go 'right into his pocket', it would be revenue to his company. I can use hyperbole, too, you know.
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I'd like to see the information indicating "$178 million" went "right into the governor's pocket." I haven't seen those dots connected yet, just allegations.

Not saying it isn't true, and in fact I'm asking precisely because I want to know whether to add Gov. Scott to my list of thieves in government.

One of the more popular services at Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, is drug testing, according to Solantic CEO Karen Bowling.

Given Solantic's role in that marketplace, critics are again asking whether Scott's policy initiatives - this time, requiring drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients - are designed to benefit Scott's bottom line.

The Palm Beach Post reported in an exclusive story two weeks ago that while Scott divested his interest in Solantic in January, the controlling shares went to a trust in his wife's name.

This raised a groundswell of concern and questions about his health policy initiatives, especially his push to move Medicaid into private HMOs. Solantic does not take Medicaid but does business with private Medicaid HMOs. The questions are growing louder with Scott's executive order on drug testing.

Solantic charges $35 for drug tests. The main customers? People who want advance reassurance they will pass an upcoming drug test for work or parole, and worried parents who bring in wayward teens, Bowling said. Customers can have results sent confidentially to their homes, without involving their employer or insurer.

"The wellness tests have really grown. People want to come in and find out, and then never see us again," Bowling said in an interview last month.

'Elephant in the room'

Scott surprised state employees Tuesday by issuing his executive order for mandatory drug testing of all prospective hires, and random drug testing of current employees, in agencies whose directors he appoints.

In the same announcement, he praised the Florida Legislature for its plans to require all welfare applicants to undergo drug testing as well.

Taken together, the initiatives could affect hundreds of thousands of Floridians, forcing them to submit to drug tests or risk losing their public jobs or benefits.

"Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace," Scott said in a statement. "Just as it is appropriate to screen those seeking taxpayer assistance, it is also appropriate to screen government employees."

Until last week, Scott's communications office in Tallahassee had ignored repeated requests for comment on the potential for a conflict of interest. On Friday, as national media began to call as well, the office issued this response:

Any perception that the governor's business interests pose a conflict of interest with his health policies are "baseless and incorrect," said Scott's deputy communications director, Brian Hughes.

Privately, one Scott official acknowledged that every time the governor discusses health policy, his urgent care business would be "the elephant in the room."

Shortly before he was inaugurated, Scott's lawyers met with attorneys at the Florida Commission on Ethics. Subsequently, they moved his Solantic holdings into a revocable trust in his wife's name, making her the controlling investor in the privately held company. No public records were created from the ethics meeting.

During the election campaign, he had estimated the worth of his Solantic holdings at $62 million. Jacksonville-based Solantic has 32 clinics statewide, including two in Palm Beach County, and plans rapid growth and an eventual initial public offering, according to company documents.

Suffolk University Law Professor Marc Rodwin, author of several books on conflicts of interest in medicine, said the movement of Scott's ownership to his wife's trust was insufficient to eliminate the ethical issues.

"He owned the company and transferred it into his wife's name," Rodwin said. "It's a conflict of interest."

But while it may rise to the level of impropriety, Florida legal experts said, it likely does not rise to the level of illegality.

Advice for the governor

Scott would be wise to specify that Solantic be left out of any government drug testing contracts, advised Bruce Rogow, a Nova Southeastern law professor who has defended elected officials accused of public corruption. So far, that hasn't happened.

"If I were the governor and I wanted there to be drug testing, and I owned a company that did a lot of drug testing, I would tell agencies to leave out my company," Rogow said.

He said he does not think it's illegal. "It's just a question of propriety."

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Personally I think we have to test them more often. If we can't confirm our personal bias and deep-seated racism with one drug test then obviously we need to do it until it works. More drug tests, random drug tests, drug tests that are prone to false-positives, if there's one thing we've learned from the last decade as a society it's that civil rights and wasteful spending shouldn't stand in the way of protecting civil rights and preventing government spending on people that don't deserve it.

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One of the more popular services at Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, is drug testing, according to Solantic CEO Karen Bowling.

Given Solantic's role in that marketplace, critics are again asking whether Scott's policy initiatives - this time, requiring drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients - are designed to benefit Scott's bottom line.

The Palm Beach Post reported in an exclusive story two weeks ago that while Scott divested his interest in Solantic in January, the controlling shares went to a trust in his wife's name.

This raised a groundswell of concern and questions about his health policy initiatives, especially his push to move Medicaid into private HMOs. Solantic does not take Medicaid but does business with private Medicaid HMOs. The questions are growing louder with Scott's executive order on drug testing.

Solantic charges $35 for drug tests. The main customers? People who want advance reassurance they will pass an upcoming drug test for work or parole, and worried parents who bring in wayward teens, Bowling said. Customers can have results sent confidentially to their homes, without involving their employer or insurer.

"The wellness tests have really grown. People want to come in and find out, and then never see us again," Bowling said in an interview last month.

'Elephant in the room'

Scott surprised state employees Tuesday by issuing his executive order for mandatory drug testing of all prospective hires, and random drug testing of current employees, in agencies whose directors he appoints.

In the same announcement, he praised the Florida Legislature for its plans to require all welfare applicants to undergo drug testing as well.

Taken together, the initiatives could affect hundreds of thousands of Floridians, forcing them to submit to drug tests or risk losing their public jobs or benefits.

"Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace," Scott said in a statement. "Just as it is appropriate to screen those seeking taxpayer assistance, it is also appropriate to screen government employees."

Until last week, Scott's communications office in Tallahassee had ignored repeated requests for comment on the potential for a conflict of interest. On Friday, as national media began to call as well, the office issued this response:

Any perception that the governor's business interests pose a conflict of interest with his health policies are "baseless and incorrect," said Scott's deputy communications director, Brian Hughes.

Privately, one Scott official acknowledged that every time the governor discusses health policy, his urgent care business would be "the elephant in the room."

Shortly before he was inaugurated, Scott's lawyers met with attorneys at the Florida Commission on Ethics. Subsequently, they moved his Solantic holdings into a revocable trust in his wife's name, making her the controlling investor in the privately held company. No public records were created from the ethics meeting.

During the election campaign, he had estimated the worth of his Solantic holdings at $62 million. Jacksonville-based Solantic has 32 clinics statewide, including two in Palm Beach County, and plans rapid growth and an eventual initial public offering, according to company documents.

Suffolk University Law Professor Marc Rodwin, author of several books on conflicts of interest in medicine, said the movement of Scott's ownership to his wife's trust was insufficient to eliminate the ethical issues.

"He owned the company and transferred it into his wife's name," Rodwin said. "It's a conflict of interest."

But while it may rise to the level of impropriety, Florida legal experts said, it likely does not rise to the level of illegality.

Advice for the governor

Scott would be wise to specify that Solantic be left out of any government drug testing contracts, advised Bruce Rogow, a Nova Southeastern law professor who has defended elected officials accused of public corruption. So far, that hasn't happened.

"If I were the governor and I wanted there to be drug testing, and I owned a company that did a lot of drug testing, I would tell agencies to leave out my company," Rogow said.

He said he does not think it's illegal. "It's just a question of propriety."

That raises some concerns, but it's pretty far from "$178M right into the governor's pocket," isn't it?

Anything else?

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Asking for reality to mirror my exaggeration isn't going to go anywhere.

Fair point -- I read the entire article, so let me drill down a bit and back off my own adoption of your hyperbole.

Is there any evidence -- anywhere -- that Rick Scott or the company in which he has an indirect interest have made one red cent off of this law?

I agree it should be looked into. I agree it doesn't smell good. In fact, I agree it ought to be illegal to profit on laws you impose rather than it being merely a matter of "propriety" as the law professor indicated. But there seems to be an assumption that wrongdoing occurred here when there is no real proof of it. None at all. And in fact, what we know now is Rick Scott's wife has a trust which holds an interest in a company that does drug testing, and that company is not specifically exempted from the drug testing in question, but no one has said they are involved in it, either.

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