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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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We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

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