TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – A company under investigation for Florida’s flawed unemployment website has landed another multi-year deal with the state.
The Agency for Health Care Administration announced Monday that Deloitte won the bid for a new system to manage Medicaid data over four other vendors. Politico reports the contract is worth $135 million.
The agency announced Deloitte was picked just hours after DeSantis told CBS4’s Jim DeFede, in an exclusive interview, that the unemployment filing system designed by Deloitte appears to have deliberate roadblocks to frustrate filers.
“I think the goal was, for whoever designed it, was, ‘Let’s put as many kind of pointless roadblocks along the way, so people just say, oh, the hell with it, I’m not going to do that’,'” DeSantis said in the interview on Monday.
WATCH CBS4 EXCLUSIVE: Jim DeFede’s Full 1-On-1 Interview With Gov. Ron DeSantis
On Wednesday, Scott was asked about DeSantis’ comment that the system was set up with “pointless roadblocks.”
“You know look it’s tough to be, you know, in its politics, you know. Some people, you know, they take responsibility. Some people just blame others. This is a tough time to be governor. You know there’s no unemployment system in the country that’s set up for this unprecedented number of new people applying for unemployment, then the 600 dollars, then adding the gig workers,” said Scott.
In May, DeSantis, who likened the website to a “jalopy,’ ordered the state inspector general to investigate the contract awarded to DeLoitte in 2011, when now Republican Sen. Rick Scott was governor. The contract was originally worth $40 million, but the cost ballooned to nearly $78 million after 14 contract amendments.
“There were a bunch of issues when this thing was launched,” DeSantis said at the time. “People want an accounting. It’s one thing to not have a good system if you go on the cheap, or whatever, but to pay that much money, and then all the problems we’ve had to deal with, is a big problem.”
Agency for Health Care Administration spokeswoman Katie Strickland said Wednesday said agency lawyers prohibit her from talking about contract awards for 72 hours after a vendor is selected. That will expire Thursday afternoon.
A spokesman for the governor didn’t immediately reply to phone calls and a text message seeking comment.
But Democratic lawmakers were livid that Deloitte was picked. Sen. Lori Berman said Deloitte’s unemployment system design caused “pain and grief” for Floridians who have been left without jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is shocking that the same company was even allowed to be part of the bid process. The fact that it was the winner of the bid is even more unimaginable,” she said in a news release. “Since March, over three million Floridians have filed claims for unemployment and the vast majority will tell you the experience was difficult, confusing, and illogical.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)