June 21, 2006
One helpful grandma

Here's my nominee for Quote Of The Year, Unexpected Source division.

Despite her protestations now, Bell said, Strayhorn once advocated privatizing the children's Medicaid-eligibility system and changing rules for the Children's Health Insurance Program, changes at least partly blamed for thousands of children losing health coverage.

Strayhorn announced last month that she would investigate the state's $899 million contract with Accenture LLP, the company hired to screen applicants for children's health insurance and other welfare programs.

Accenture has been criticized by legislators and health care advocates for inadequate staffing and training at private call centers.

Strayhorn called the Accenture contract a "perfect storm of wasted tax dollars" and blamed Perry, who appointed the health and human services commissioner, for the problem.

Strayhorn's spokesman, Mark Sanders, said Tuesday that the health insurance privatization approved by the Legislature and the Health and Human Services Commission was much broader than the comptroller had recommended as a cost-cutting measure in 2003.

"That's sort of like an arsonist offering to help put out the fire that he started," Bell responded. "I mean, this was part of her recommendation, and obviously she wants to run from it now."

Former state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth of Burleson, who sponsored the health and human services reorganization in 2003, said Strayhorn's office was "very helpful" in getting the legislation passed.

"In a way, she was the grandma of House Bill 2292," the reorganization act, said Wohlgemuth, who backs Perry.

(Emphasis mine.) Arlene Wohlgemuth, ladies and gentlemen. Be sure to check yourself for stiletto wounds after you shake hands with her.

Oh, and I'd totally accept "Carole Keeton 'Grandma of House Bill 2292' Strayhorn" as a compromise solution to how she should be listed on the ballot. I'm just saying.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 21, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack