Private firms cleared to help Texans applying for food stamps

Source: Jason Embry, AMERICAN-STATESMAN, Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A move in Congress to limit the role of private firms in doling out food stamps is dead for now, allowing Texas to move forward with its privatization plans.

U.S. House and Senate negotiators voted late last week against including a privatization ban in a $300 billion farm bill that lawmakers hope to finish this week. The ban would have prevented states from allowing employees of private companies to interact with people who are applying for food stamps or to decide someone’s eligibility.

…… Last year, Texas canceled what was originally a five-year, $899 million contract with Accenture LLP to run call centers enrolling people in services. But the state did not altogether abandon its plan for private call centers, which state officials say can save money and give Texans more ways to apply for services, instead of just in person.