Sunday, March 21, 2010

DHHS hired UnitedHealth to write Medicaid report to Congress

Why would the federal government hire one of the country's largest private health insurance companies to write a report to Congress analyzing the financial impact of four potential Medicaid regulations?

The report is titled: "Mandated Report to Congress: Analysis of Impacts and Issues Relating to Four Medicaid Regulations".  It was "Prepared for: The United States Congress under contract to: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices, Contract No.HHSM-500-2005-00024I" (original emphasis).  It is dated September 30, 2009.

The report was prepared by The Lewin Group.  The Lewin Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ingenix, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.  The Washington Post wrote all about it last summer.

UnitedHealth provides Medicaid services under contract to a number of states.  Enrollees in these state contracted services contracts account for about twenty percent of the total enrollee count for UnitedHealth.  This 20% of the membership accounts for fifty percent of the company's income, according to third quarter financial reports.

UnitedHealth announced on Friday they will be breaking ground on a $100 - $150 million data center facility.  It will be just like the one the company built in 2008.  The company appears to expecting significant growth.

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.