Foundation for Government Accountability

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Foundation for Government Accountability
Founder(s) Tarren Bragdon
Established 2011
Focus Health care and welfare policy reform
Budget Revenue: $4,052,421
Expenses: $3,924,746
(FYE December 2014)[1]
Location Naples, Florida[2]
Coordinates 26°16′19″N 81°41′27″W / 26.2719°N 81.6909°W / 26.2719; -81.6909Coordinates: 26°16′19″N 81°41′27″W / 26.2719°N 81.6909°W / 26.2719; -81.6909
Address 15275 Collier Blvd.
Naples, FL 34119

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) is a free market think tank based in Naples, Florida.[3]

The FGA was founded in 2011 by Tarren Bragdon, a former Maine legislator and past CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center.[4] The organization's stated mission is to "promote better lives for individuals and families by equipping policymakers with principled strategies to replace failed health and welfare programs nationwide."[5]


The organization is active in the areas of healthcare and welfare reform.[6][7][8] A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the FGA states that it is funded primarily by individuals, with the remainder coming from private foundations and businesses. In 2011, the organization’s income was $212,000 and in 2012 its funding grew to $731,000. By 2013, the organization's revenue was $1,970,689.[1]


Welfare reform[edit]

By studying and tracking the impact of different reforms, the FGA is able to give policy makers clear guidance on what welfare policies have a demonstrable effect on the incomes and independence of people on welfare. The FGA conducted the first and most comprehensive study[9] of the impact of work requirements on able-bodied adults on food stamps in Kansas[10] and Maine[11] and found that incomes more than doubled within a year for those who transitioned out of the program. In all, for every $2,000 people on food stamps lost in benefits, they earned $3,000 in new income.

Medicaid expansion[edit]

Blocking Medicaid expansion has been a longtime project of the FGA, as it sees Medicaid spending under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, as unsustainable, threatening both state budgets and the services provided to traditional Medicaid patients.[12] At the state level, Medicaid spending already crowds out funding[13] for other critical services, such as primary and higher education, public safety, and infrastructure. At the federal level, Medicaid expansion costs are replaced with $716 billion in cuts to Medicare[14] which means fewer resources for the elderly. A Harvard study[15] found that the FGA’s involvement in this Medicaid debate was a key factor in whether or not a state expanded the program. The FGA was invited to discuss the merits and flaws of Medicaid expansion with former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius,[16] who was in charge of implementing expansion under ObamaCare.

Stop the Scam[edit]

Stop the Scam is a FGA program that partners states with third-party vendors to use the latest technology and databases to protect public programs like Medicare and Medicaid from fraud and abuse.[17] State agencies are limited by federal law to how regularly they can audit their own rolls,[18] and this partnership gives them a legal way to conduct more regular verifications. It also gives states access to far more databases than they are currently using[19] or might have access to. This program was first run in Illinois[20] and since has saved the programs hundreds of millions of dollars, removing 400,000 ineligible beneficiaries[21] in the first two years.

Right to Shop[edit]

Right to Shop is an FGA program that provides incentives[22] for patients to shop for lower-cost, higher-value healthcare services. The FGA combined two successful programs (a Massachusetts price transparency component[23] and New Hampshire’s Smart Shopper program[24]) into one comprehensive concept that allows patients to know the average price for their county from their insurer for specific services, and if they receive those services at a lower cost provider, the insurance company splits the savings with them in cash.[25] The brilliance of the Right to Shop idea is it isn’t punitive, so patients can still go to any provider they choose without penalty. But if they want to shop around, they will be rewarded and in the process price sensitivity will be reintroduced to the healthcare market. This program functions the same under the provisions of ObamaCare or without it, so it will be stable regardless of what Washington does.

Volunteer Care[edit]

Volunteer Care is a policy proposal that states should offer incentives to healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, etc.) who provide free care and services to qualified recipients[26] (typically an income and/or asset threshold). Initially run in Florida, the program has cost the state less than $500,000 a year to administer, but it has provided just shy of $300 million worth of free care to those in need in 2014.[27] The program offers a limited amount of Continuing Medical Education credi[28] t for charity services and provides legal protection[29] for those giving free care.


  1. ^ a b "Quickview data" (PDF). GuideStar. 
  2. ^ Wemple, Erik (January 28, 2014). "MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recommits to her slam on Koch brothers". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Geraghty, Jim (August 27, 2014). "Expanding Medicaid". National Review. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Wolford, Ben (October 17, 2011). "Maine man: Young political upstart from New England starts Naples-based think tank". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Foundation for Government Accountability. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Matthews, Merrill (November 7, 2014). "Reversing the Medicaid Tidal Wave in Illinois". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Corbett Dooren, Jennifer (February 24, 2014). "Rising Premiums May Hit Small Firms". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Sanders, Katie; Sherman, Amy (January 9, 2014). "Rachel Maddow claims Florida group that backs drug-testing welfare recipients is affiliated with Koch brothers". PolitiFact. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Report: The Power of Work – How Kansas’ Welfare Reform is Lifting Americans Out of Poverty". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  10. ^ "Gov. Sam Brownback: Commonsense welfare reform is working in Kansas". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  11. ^ "Kansas Reduced Poverty by Requiring Work for Food Stamps". The Daily Signal. 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Stop Medicaid Expansion". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  13. ^ White, Dan (April 21, 2015). "Crowded Out: The Outlook for State Higher Education Spending" (PDF). Moody's Analytics: Economic & Consumer Credit Analytics. Retrieved 2016-08-01 – via Miller Center. 
  14. ^ "Federal Spending by the Numbers - 2012". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  15. ^ Hertel-Fernandez, Alexander (April 2016). "Business Associations, Conservative Networks, and the Ongoing Republican War over Medicaid Expansion" (PDF). Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 41 (2). Retrieved 2016-08-01 – via Duke Journals. 
  16. ^ "Four statements by former HHS Secretary Sebelius proving she’s completely out of touch with reality - Hot Air". 2015-10-14. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  17. ^ "Stop Fraud". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  18. ^ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  19. ^ Stop the Scam How to Prevent Welfare Fraud in Your State
  20. ^ Matthews, Merrill (2014-11-08). "Reversing the Medicaid Tidal Wave in Illinois". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  21. ^ "Expert: N.C. Needs Better Way To Monitor Medicaid Rolls". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  22. ^ "Real Health Care Reform: Right to Shop". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  23. ^ "Price Tags On Health Care? Only In Massachusetts". 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  24. ^ "Vitals SmartShopper Program, State of New Hampshire Human Resources". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  25. ^ "Episode 655: Pay Patients, Save Money". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  26. ^ "Volunteer Care". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  27. ^ 2013–2014 Volunteer Health Services Annual Report John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS Surgeon General and Secretary of Health April 2015
  28. ^ Medicine, Florida Board of. "Florida Board of Medicine  » Limited License (Volunteer) - Healthcare Practitioner Licensing and Regulation". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  29. ^ Volunteer Health Services 2011 - 2012 Annual Report

External links[edit]