The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) is an American public policy think tank based in Naples, Florida. The nonprofit organization primarily focuses on welfare and health care reform at both the state and federal levels. FGA conducts policy research and its experts recommend free-market solutions that promote work, reduce dependency, and increase opportunity. The organization was founded in 2011 by Tarren Bragdon, who now serves as FGA's CEO and president. The group's "emphasis on policy messaging and marketing...has differentiated the group from traditional think tanks."
FGA was founded in 2011 by Tarren Bragdon, a former Maine legislator and past CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center. According to the organization, FGA was founded with a focus on policy reform in Florida, but adapted to a multi-state focus to implement reforms that reduce government dependency nationwide.
FGA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. FGA states that it is primarily funded by individuals, with the remaining funding coming from foundations and businesses. In 2011, the organization's income was $212,000 and in 2012 its funding grew to $731,000. By 2016, the organization's revenue was $4,887,532.FGA has a staff of 26. In 2017, the group had $7 million in revenue.
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 of the impact of work requirements on able-bodied adults on food stamps in Kansas and Maine 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.
FGA supports work requirements tied to food stamps. The organization piloted welfare changes in several different states before beginning to advocate for changes at a federal level in 2017. FGA supports legislation that would require able-bodied individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 to work or attend training programs for 20 hours each week in order to receive benefits.
Blocking Medicaid expansion has been a longtime project of the FGA, as it sees Medicaid spending under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as unsustainable, threatening both state budgets and the services provided to traditional Medicaid patients. At the state level, Medicaid spending already crowds out funding for other critical services, such as primary and higher education, public safety, and infrastructure. A Harvard study found that the FGA’s involvement in this Medicaid debate was a key factor in whether or not a state expanded the program.
Stop the Scam
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. State agencies are limited by federal law to how regularly they can audit their own rolls, 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 or might have access to. This program was first run in Illinois and since has saved the programs hundreds of millions of dollars, removing 400,000 ineligible beneficiaries in the first two years.
Right to Shop
Right to Shop is an FGA program that provides incentives for patients to shop for lower-cost, higher-value health care services. The FGA combined two successful programs (a Massachusetts price transparency component and New Hampshire's Smart Shopper program) 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.