Parnell: Rethink welfare waiver plan

Alaska’s governor has asked U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reconsider a plan to let states seek major changes in how they meet federal welfare-to-work requirements.

Gov. Sean Parnell, in a letter released Wednesday, says he believes that in granting any waivers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “will in effect create a dangerous policy precedent and deter Americans from becoming more self-sufficient.”

Last month, the department issued a memo in which it said it was encouraging states to consider “new, more effective ways” to help families receiving assistance “successfully prepare for, find and retain employment.” The memo says states led the way on welfare reform in the 1990s, and the department is seeking to challenge states to engage in a new round of innovation.