Three Little Words

Frank Sinatra and dozens of other singers have used the lyrics:

“Three little words, oh what I’d give for that wonderful phrase,
To hear those three little words, that’s all I’d live for the rest of my days.
And what I feel in my heart, they tell sincerely.
No other words can tell it half so clearly.
Three little words, eight little letters which simply mean
Waste, Fraud, Abuse.”

Okay, so Frank Sinatra didn’t sing it exactly that way. And these three little words have fifteen letters, not eight.

It’s WFA season in Jefferson City. We’re already hearing some lawmakers claiming they can cut taxes but avoid any loss in state revenue by getting rid of WFA. We’ve listened to office-holders and pretenders to their offices say everything will be just hunky-dory if we can get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. How this phrase has escaped making Lake Superior State University’s annual list of banned words is one of nature’s great mysteries.

It too easily dribbles from the lips of those in politics or those wanting to replace them. And every time a candidate or an office holder falls back on that tired old tri-word phrase, he or she insults a lot of people, some of whom they serve with or want to serve with.
Here’s why continued assertions that there are millions and millions of dollars of WFA are insults to colleagues and past dedicated public servants.

This will be the 39th session of the Missouri legislature the Missourinet has covered. Think of all of the Speakers of the House including the one this year. Think of all of the Presidents Pro Tem of the state Senate, including this year’s leader. Think of all of the House and Senate Appropriations and budget committee chairmen and women and the hundreds of budget hearings and budget reviews they have held during those years, looking for ways to hold spending down, searching for ways the state can spend its money responsibly and efficiently. Think of all of the appropriations bills members of the House and Senate—including many now serving–have approved, apparently approving WFA as they did. Think of all the state audits done on agencies and programs and their questions about WFA that have produced voluntary results or have or should have produced legislative appropriations action to stop the discovered WFA. Both political parties have held legislative majorities or elective positions and chamber control during those years. Governors have come and gone. Treasurers have come and gone.

Today our legislators return to the Capitol for their 2013 session. Failure to bag the 12-point buck of WFA, after all, might be seen as a Waster of time, Fraudulent promises of success, and further Abuse of the English language.

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One thought on “Three Little Words

  1. This WFA Article is Spot On.
    I’ve been systematically pursuing WFA solutions since 1995. My calculations estimate that at least 15% of all healthcare claims are WFA. Most of these could be detected and stopped PRIOR TO the payment of healthcare claims. This would save at least $200 million off of Missouri’s state budget expenses while actually increasing the availability of resources to help those that REALLY need help. Plug and play solutions are available and could be up and running within six months, but at the snails pace of government, it will take years and still not be all that it can be.
    The Godfather of Fraud Detection

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