NPR

'Automating Inequality': Algorithms In Public Services Often Fail The Most Vulnerable

Author Virginia Eubanks argues that automated systems that governments across the U.S. use to deliver benefit and welfare programs are often rigged against the very people who need it most.
Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks Source: Eslah Attar

In the fall of 2008, Omega Young got a letter prompting her to recertify for Medicaid.

But she was unable to make the appointment because she was suffering from ovarian cancer. She called her local Indiana office to say she was in the hospital.

Her benefits were cut off anyway. The reason: "failure to cooperate."

"She lost her benefits, she couldn't afford her medication, she lost her food stamps, she couldn't pay her rent, she lost access to free transportation to her medical appointments," Virginia Eubanks tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. Eubanks is the author of a new book, .

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