Speaking of Automated Systems
Thanks so much to everyone participating in the LTAAA symposium: what a terrific discussion. Given my work on Technological Due Process, I could not help but think about troubled public benefits system in Colorado known as CBMS. Ever since 2004, the system has been riddled with delays, faulty law embedded in code, and system crashes. As the Denver Post reports, the state has a $44 million contract with Deloitte consultants to overhaul the system–its initial installation cost $223 million with other private contractors. CBMS is a mess, with thousands of overpayments, underpayments, delayed benefits, faulty notices, and erroneous eligibility determinations. And worse. In the summer of 2009, 9-year-old Zumante Lucero died after a pharmacy — depending upon the CBMS system — wouldn’t fill his asthma prescription despite proof the family qualified for Medicaid help. In February 2011, CBMS failed eight different tests in a federal review, with auditors pointing to new “serious” problems while saying past failures are “nearly the same” despite five years of fixes. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which provides billions of dollars each year for state medical aid, said Colorado risks losing federal money for programs if it doesn’t make changes from the audit. All of this brings to mind whether a legal theory of automated personhood moves this ball forward. Does it help us sort through the mess of opacity, insufficient notice, and troubling and likely unintended delegation of lawmaking to computer programmers? Something for me to chew on as the discussion proceeds.
Image: Wikimedia Commons