Eric Bradner, writing for the Evansville Courier Press, has a good account of the State Budget Committee’s hearing on the privatization contract which transferred handling of welfare applications from the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to IBM and Affiliated Computer Systems, Inc. (ACS). (ACS, quite coincidentally, I’m sure, was former FSSA chief, Mitch Roob’s former employer.)
The privatization has cost the state of Indiana a pile of money and has led to chronic complaints of lost documentation and long waiting times. Unlike the former system, there is no dedicated caseworker for applicants, so they’re at the mercy of whoever happens to pick up the phone after they finally get out of automated phone hell.
As I’ve mentioned before, this bureaucracy seems like a design flaw if your goal is to deliver services to Hoosiers in need. On the other hand, the system seems less flawed if your goal is to transfer taxpayer money to preferred associates and to discourage poor people from applying for and receiving benefits. If that’s the goal, then those lost documents and increased wait times seem less like bugs and more like features.