Thursday, July 19, 2012

Great Harm Done To Hoosiers

Indiana Home Care Task Force
One North Capitol Avenue,
Suite 1025 Indianapolis, IN 46204 F

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 and Thursday, July 19, 2012
Contact: John Cardwell, 317.441.3812 or 317.841.9672

COURT’S RULING IN THE IBM CASE CONFIRMS THE GREAT HARM DONE TO HOOSIERS BY WELFARE PRIVATIZATION….SADLY, THAT HARM CONTINUES

(Indianapolis) Today, the Indiana Home Care Task Force responded to the ruling by Judge David Dreyer in favor of IBM in that company’s legal battle vs. the Daniels administration and the Indiana Family and Social Services (FSSA) over the failed privatization of the state’s welfare system. Judge Dreyer ruled the state owes IBM $12.5 million for equipment and contract termination payments. Judge Dreyer had earlier ruled the state owes IBM $40 million for subcontractor fees. The state received nothing in the judge’s ruling. The state had been seeking $150 million in damages.

One of the earliest opponents to welfare privatization was the Indiana Home Care Task Force. John Cardwell, the chair of the Task Force, commented on the July 18th ruling:

 “The Task Force wants to thank Judge Dreyer for his ruling, and for recognizing the great harm that has been done to Hoosiers throughout the state by welfare privatization. Perhaps, his ruling can sow the seeds for establishing a humane system of public benefits so Hoosiers in the future will not be needlessly and wrongly harmed as they have since the end of 2006.

 “Citizens and their elected representatives in the Indiana State House and in Washington, D.C. should know and recognize this. The original welfare privatization scheme was designed in a manner that greatly benefitted the financial interests of ACS at a time when former employees of that company worked in senior management positions within the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). FSSA and the Daniels administration were wrong in their handling of welfare privatization from day one, and created dubious data to justify their action.

 “ACS benefitted far more than IBM from welfare privatization, and was involved in the actions at the local level that harmed senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and families. These were people that needed and qualified for medical assistance, nutrition assistance, and family supports in order to maintain their health and safety. ACS continues to be a direct beneficiary of welfare privatization and continues to operate public benefit programs in a manner that harms the people served by those programs.

“The rulings by Judge Dreyer are appropriate. The rulings by Judge Dreyer represent a measure of needed justice. But the rulings by the court do not address the fundamental harm that continues to this day as a result of welfare privatization. People are still getting poor care through FSSA’s Division of Family Resources and the private companies, such as ACS, that were not fired at the time IBM was dismissed by Governor Daniels.

“The elected officials that represent Hoosier taxpayers in the Indiana General Assembly and in the U.S. Congress should still demand and get a full third party audit of Indiana’s welfare system, top to bottom. The Medicaid, food stamp and family assistance data reported by the state to the federal government should be examined penny by penny to determine who is benefitting from those programs: citizens that need medical care, food and shelter, or private companies. We need to know where all the pennies are being spent and why.

“It is a public disgrace that hospitals, nursing homes, area agencies on aging, and charity clinics have been forced since welfare privatization to hire persons to help citizens through the eligibility determination nightmare that has been created by Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Those tasks should be handled by FSSA’s Division of Family Resources using public employees working in local offices that are fully accessible to the elderly, persons with disabilities, and low income families. “The public deserves a truthful accounting of the welfare privatization debacle. The public needs to know the corruption claims by the Daniels administration in 2005 to justify welfare privatization were false. The public needs to know the current bad system that replaced the old system must now be replaced.

The public needs to know it is possible to put in place public benefit programs that are efficient, which have little or no corruption, and which humanely serve the medical, nutrition and shelter needs of citizens that need those services. Other states have figured out how to properly administer these public programs. Indiana must do the same.”

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