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HMOs blow big bucks

Mar. 14, 2000

While Medicare gets its share of criticism, at least it’s reassuring to know that none of it seems to be hurting a great number of the HMO employees who get their money from the federal program. The KANSAS CITY STAR reports that HMOs across the country are spending roughly $1 billion a year on non-patient expenses, according to an investigation by federal auditors. These expenses include season football tickets, dinners at exclusive restaurants, political lobbying and public relations.

Naturally, this perturbs some people. “HMOs must include only proper charges, and not expect taxpayers to help foot the bill for lavish parties,” says Nancy-Ann DeParle of the Health Care Financing Administration.

But while such spending may be immoral, it is apparently not illegal. “We have followed all the rules,” says Jose Marques, spokesman for a Louisville-based HMO. “We did it by the book.”

Read the KANSAS CITY STAR story here.

JG

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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