The Los Angeles Times reports that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a former top George W. Bush budget official and a rock star among Republican insiders, authorized his government to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to well-connected companies that so they could privatize the delivery of benefits to the poor, elderly, and disabled.
In 2008, the efforts to put the system in corporate hands — and replace government caseworkers with call centers — more than doubled the state’s “error rate” to 13%, meaning that a record number of cases and claims were inaccurately denied. (The “error rate” has plummeted–privatization advocates point to the number of success, while critics note that caseworkers have returned to the field.)
“People were being dumped off food stamps and Medicaid in large numbers; people with profound disabilities were told they weren’t cooperating,” said a state lobbyist for the elderly and the disabled, in an interview with the Times.
One of the subcontractors that administered the program, ACS, received an 8-year contract in 2009 that was worth more than $600 million.
Copyright 2011 The National Memo