Omega Young lay in her hospital bed, her body wracked with disease. The cancer that started in her ovaries had spread to her kidneys, breast and liver.Higgins' story notes that error rates have shot up since the privatization plan has been partially implemented and are well above the national error rate. Daniels is quoted as saying the performance of IBM and the other private contractors is "unacceptable" and fixing the welfare system remains "the number-one priority of our administration. The Daniels' administration is contemplating cancelling the contract if the situation doesn't improve by September. The privatization plan was initiated by former FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob. His former employer, ACS, is a leading member of IBM's privatization team.
She'd lost her appetite to the chemotherapy; she weighed 98 pounds.
Then came more bad news: After a botched round of telephone tag with welfare officials, the state of Indiana pulled the plug on her Medicaid benefits and food stamps.
The 50-year-old Young, who lived alone in a tiny apartment, was frantic.
"She'd call me, crying," says Cecilia Brennan, a staffer with Evansville-based Southwestern Indiana Regional Council on Aging. "She'd say, 'What am I going to do?' "
Brennan, whose agency advocates for older and disabled adults, blames privatization for putting Young through needless stress during what turned out to be her final days . . .
As for Young, the cancer patient, Brennan interceded on her behalf and represented her at a Medicaid appeals hearing in February. A few weeks later, an administrative judge ruled in Young's favor.
Her benefits were reinstated March 2.
Young had died March 1.
It was never a matter of life and death, but rather, quality of life. "She was just so sick, so weak," said her sister Christal Bell. "She knew she was going, but she had strong (Christian) faith."
Monday, July 20, 2009
More On Daniels' Welfare Privatization
If Gov. Mitch Daniels hopes to someday be a candidate for president, his welfare privatization may prove to be his biggest Achilles heel. The Star's Will Higgins has a blistering assessment of the results so far from the privatizing of the welfare services administered by the Family & Social Services Administration. His heart-wrenching story about the experience of cancer victim Omega Young of Evansville says it all: