Gov. Chris Christie's administration has pulled the plug on a seven-year-old $118.3 million contract for what had been billed as a “comprehensive and cutting-edge” computer system to make Medicaid, food stamps and other social welfare programs easier to manage, including some that have been hobbled by backlogs, NJ Advance Media has learned.It reminded me that something similar happened in Indiana several years ago.
The state Department of Human Services’ contract with Hewlett Packard to produce the Consolidated Assistance Support System, better known as CASS, “has been terminated, and an analysis is in progress to determine next steps,” department spokeswoman Nicole Brossoie confirmed.
Indiana has ended its troubled $1.3 billion deal with IBM to provide welfare services to the state's neediest families.But the truth is, its happening all over the country.
For months, 13 Investigates has shown you how the largest contract in state history has failed to deliver...
Daniels said IBM was fired for failing to live up to its $1.3 billion deal with the state despite months of warnings to fix the broken system.
In recent years, computer errors have disrupted a wide range of government-run programs across the country, including Medicaid, unemployment benefits and child support payments...The names of companies associated with these failures read like a "who's-who" of corporate giants...Hewlett Packard, IBM, Xerox. But rather than fix the systems, the story seems to be that problems persist, contracts are eventually cancelled, and then the back-and-forth law suits begin to fly. Meanwhile, those depending on these programs suffer.
Such errors happen for many reasons, experts say. States are short-staffed and lack technology experts. They rush out new computer systems before the systems are ready. They fail to oversee IT contractors.
The glitches often take months or even years to fix because technology for poor people is not considered a high priority, according to David Super, a Georgetown University law professor who studies government technology projects.
After hiring dozens of engineers and programmers from tech industry giants like Google and Oracle, the federal government largely fixed problems with the health-care website in about two months. But many states have taken much longer to fix computer errors with welfare programs. Colorado’s troubled system for food stamps and Medicaid has been plagued by glitches and delays for the past decade.
There are a lot of lessons we need to learn from all this. I doubt that we'll be able to avoid the reality that government will continue to partner with businesses when it comes to the use of technology. But the conservative mantra that private corporations are more effective than government in managing these kinds of programs is exposed as a lie.
Finally, when everyone's hair was on fire over the problems with the roll-out of healthcare.gov, it might have been nice for the media to provide some context for the challenges the tech field has faced in producing systems that actually work. In the end, it looks like Obamacare is a model of success.