Well, one thing about the Department of Health and Human Services is certain: If it wasn’t really broken before Aldona Wos showed up on the scene, it sure is now. She and her boss, the Governor, like to mention what a mess they inherited. But it’s looking more and more like a mess they made.

McCrory and Wos keep talking about this massive reform effort that is going fix a broken Medicaid system. Well, the woman they hired to oversee that effort, Carol Steckel, just left to take a more lucrative position. She was making over $200,000 a year so that must be one hell of a job.

When Wos hired Steckel, she called it the “the first big victory” in her tenure at DHHS. It also was the only victory. And since Steckel bailed after only eight months, I guess it was really just another mistake.

Since then, Wos has run off virtually every qualified senior manager at the department and hired a slew of political cronies with little or no public health experience. Every week, the department faces a new set of bad headlines. And almost every week, Pat McCrory defends Wos as a hardworking Secretary putting in long hours.

Here’s the problem. She may be working 14 hours a day, seven days a week, but if Wos doesn’t know what she’s doing she’s just spinning her wheels. And reading about Wos makes me pretty sure she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s just a rich ideologue who Pat McCrory owed a favor.

The episode, though, is emblematic of the Republicans’ perception of governing. They don’t see government as real jobs and they don’t see the people who receive government services as deserving. Real work and real experience is only gained in the private sector. Career bureaucrats and policy wonks are part of the problem so they can’t possibly be part of the solution. In GOP world, anybody can do government work, so that’s who they hire–anybody.

That’s how we get business consultants with exorbitant price tags and senior policy advisors with no policy experience.  And that’s how we end up with a mess like DHHS.


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