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 Post subject: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assistance
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:08 pm 
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ugh
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Have you seen this status on Facebook?
Quote:
Kentucky just passed the best law ever!!! To be on food stamps, Medicaid, or Cash Assistance for yourself or your children you have to pass a DRUG Test. Now every other state should do the same. People that work have to take a drug test so should they! Re-post if you agree


It hasn't actually been passed, but unfortunately, it could. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/1 ... 10577.html
Quote:
Kentucky state Rep. Lonnie Napier (R-Lancaster) has introduced a bill that would enforce random drug testing for all adult Kentuckians receiving welfare, food stamps or Medicaid, which he told HuffPost would "get people off drugs" and save money for the state.

"I believe there is a place for public assistance for those that really need it, but I don't think there should be public assistance for those using it to buy drugs," Napier said. "It's widely known here and all over the country that they'll take the food-stamp card and buy good groceries with it, and then swap them for illegal drugs. My deal would only be random testing, and this would put the fear in people to keep them drug-clean because they would lose their public assistance if they show up with illegal drugs in their system."

Under Kentucky House Bill 208, public-assistance recipients who fail the random drug test would immediately lose their benefits, which Napier said will save the state government "millions and millions and millions" of dollars.


I'm horrified by how many people actually support this sort of thing. I created a petition against it (heavily borrowed from ACLU): http://www.change.org/petitions/view/sa ... n_kentucky

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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b.vicious wrote:
Have you seen this status on Facebook?
Quote:
Kentucky just passed the best law ever!!! To be on food stamps, Medicaid, or Cash Assistance for yourself or your children you have to pass a DRUG Test. Now every other state should do the same. People that work have to take a drug test so should they! Re-post if you agree


Thankfully, I haven't yet seen this status, even from people in Kentucky I went to high school with...so far, anyway. (I hope I don't either, because I'm already pretty touchy today after having to unfriend someone for using racial slurs to refer to Obama, but that's another story for another day.)

Um, and don't people understand that many people on food stamps DO work, even though the jobs they have are low-paying? Ever heard of the working poor?

And exactly how much will those random drug tests, the vast majority of which will be negative (and therefore will not kick most public recipients out of the system), cost the state?


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:28 pm 
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ugh
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PS: I've never written a petition before so I think I may have done a crappy job of explaining things. I'd appreciate any edits you folks might suggest.

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:32 pm 
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ugh
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amethyst wrote:
And exactly how much will those random drug tests, the vast majority of which will be negative (and therefore will not kick most public recipients out of the system), cost the state?

Someone has actually attempted to do the math: http://my.firedoglake.com/thingscomeund ... n-welfare/

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Semen Strong
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I saw this posted on someone's wall too, and it makes me so sad to know the Reagan-era welfare shaming is still alive and well. I hate the tone of the post and the snide "otherness" it implies.

But I know there are people who do use their welfare checks to buy drugs. I'm not opposed to cracking down on bodegas that give you cash for food stamps etc, or with creating a system that incentivizes people to use those funds to buy food etc (Breaking Night was a great story that tangentially talks about how drug-addicted parents used welfare funds for drugs).

I would hope the statute could not assume all welfare recipients are on drugs but perhaps offer better support for those who are. Its so hard to get into a good rehab w/o insurance etc.

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:19 pm 
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Chard Martyr
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Tofulish wrote:
I would hope the statute could not assume all welfare recipients are on drugs but perhaps offer better support for those who are. Its so hard to get into a good rehab w/o insurance etc.
Yes, it is. We had to work so hard to help clients get good/any treatment when I was at internship. We (a halfway house) actually didn't take insurance, so it was great (though the wait list was very long), but getting clients into inpatient treatment was very difficult without insurance. You mention the word "insurance," though, and it's like they magically have an opening.

I see a huge problem being (sort of like Tofulish said) this us v them mentality. I don't know if it will really save millions of dollars, and what about the treatment model for the people who "automatically lose their benefits?" Then they are going to be left with nothing... I would venture a guess it could just lead to more problems.


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:58 pm 
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Really? There's a widespread problem with people using Medicaid to buy illegal drugs?


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:15 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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mollyjade wrote:
Really? There's a widespread problem with people using Medicaid to buy illegal drugs?


I think the real issue is a belief that drug addicts are people who don't deserve help. Which is, when you think about it for even two seconds, about the dumbest possible position.


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:48 pm 
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Semen Strong
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mollyjade wrote:
Really? There's a widespread problem with people using Medicaid to buy illegal drugs?


My response was with respect to welfare checks and food stamps.

I can't imagine that Ky can really affect access to Medicaid, as that is a federal, rather than a state, program. I'm not an expert, but wasn't the whole reason a federal program was set up because states were unfairly depriving citizens of welfare benefits to create a race to the bottom in benefits that would end up incentivizing the poor to move to a more generous state, thereby depriving many of very basic welfare?

The proposed statute is punitive, the mindset is gross, I agree with you on that mollyjade. But, there is also an open question which this proposed statute doesn't address (although it purports to) of what to do to help people on assistance with drug problems. Clearly testing everyone isn't the answer, and neither is taking away benefits from people who need them, but maybe making rehab facilities and other support available might be.

Here is a link to Breaking Night that I was thinking of.
Quote:
Murray’s parents usually burned through their monthly welfare check within a week, spending the money on cocaine, while Murray and her older sister, Lisa, scrambled to stay alive. They subsisted on eggs and mayonnaise sandwiches, occasionally splitting a tube of toothpaste and a cherry-flavored ChapStick to dull their hunger pangs.
My point is I think that we all agree that welfare checks shouldn't be spent on cocaine, but how do we manage that?

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:59 pm 
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I wasn't disagreeing with anyone here! Just expressing my disbelief. Napier's suggesting that taking away Medicare would in any way help someone get off illegal drugs is just ridiculous.

I just can't imagine that he actually thought of this as a way to help people. This is a way to punish poor people and get bonus points for saving money at the same time.


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Semen Strong
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You're right. I'd love an answer on how a state could affect eligibility for a federal program. Even if it is administered on a state level, aren't the guidelines set on a federal level?

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:21 pm 
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Chard Martyr
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mollyjade wrote:
I wasn't disagreeing with anyone here! Just expressing my disbelief. Napier's suggesting that taking away Medicare would in any way help someone get off illegal drugs is just ridiculous.

I just can't imagine that he actually thought of this as a way to help people. This is a way to punish poor people and get bonus points for saving money at the same time.
I'm not very knowledgeable with regard to medicare/medicaid, SSI, all of the different levels of state aid. I do believe that there needs to be a way to help people (if this indeed goes through, and that people are found to be drug users) instead of just taking away their aid and leaving them with nothing. Treatment? Some sort of program to help them get back on the aid if they complete a program?

It's similar in a perverse way to the crepe that I experienced when I worked in daycare: the state would pay for daycare when the mother was unemployed, but once she made enough money (hardly enough), they would take the aid away. She would then spend all of her money on childcare, thus forcing her to be reliant on the system or to end up not being able to afford childcare... it is just so broken on so many levels.

Does that make sense? I'm afraid I make sense in my head, but not via written word at the moment. Point is, the system is stupid in a lot of ways, and the "answers" they're coming up with are so ineffective.


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:48 pm 
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I'm in Kentucky, as are most of my Facebook friends, and I haven't yet seen that status. Anyone who posts it gets an automatic unfriend from me.
I don't know anything about law, but as someone who was on Medicaid, I'm thinking the administration and oversight of Medicaid programs was all state-run; they just had to follow the federal guidelines.
That bill isn't expected to pass, fortunately. The bad news is I actually know people who think you should have to quit smoking cigarettes and surrender your cell phone before becoming eligible for government assistance, and these are the people whose parents grew up in poverty.

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:11 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
You're right. I'd love an answer on how a state could affect eligibility for a federal program. Even if it is administered on a state level, aren't the guidelines set on a federal level?


Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. It is administered by the states. While I don't know the answer to your question, the states do have some control, as Medicaid is different in each state.


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:47 pm 
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It saddens me that something that affects very few people who are on these programs (they just don't give you enough to stay alive and fund an addiction). Subjecting everyone to this to catch either a lot of pot smokers or a few hard drug users is just another way of putting them down and keeping them there.

Welfare systems seem to be designed around shame and accusation, and because retailers know that there's a large portion of the population that is getting a semi regular amount of money they take advantage. The Real Canadian Superstore (owned by Loblaws) is the cheapest place to buy food where my parents live, and a few years ago, my mom noticed that they raise some of their prices by a few cents at least right around the time the welfare cheques come. Specific things, like bread, eggs, milk, lined paper during back to school time, simple things that families are going to want.

We wrote letters but nothing ever came of it. These things add up to make sure that a cheque isn't going to last till the next one, even if you're not blowing it on drugs.

The more I grow up, the more I meet people that would rather drug addicts be on the street in front of their grand children/children rather than in a home, warm, almost safe, and at least dry...

Kick drug addicts off welfare, have more drug addicts on the street. Its a very simple equation... I just don't understand why people seem to prefer that.

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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:01 pm 
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I was almost done reading all of these posts before I realized that this had nothing to do with KY lube. I thought the manufacturers of KY wanted every state to do what Kentucky was doing. I couldn't figure out why it mattered to them.


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 Post subject: Re: KY wants to require random drug tests for public assista
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:52 pm 
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ugh
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I can't tell you how relieved I am just to know there are other people out there who don't want to hate on the poor. I <3 PPKers.

joyfulgirl wrote:
I was almost done reading all of these posts before I realized that this had nothing to do with KY lube. I thought the manufacturers of KY wanted every state to do what Kentucky was doing. I couldn't figure out why it mattered to them.

Heh, you can blame the post title character limit for that. :)

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