consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Not only are the insurers rapacious leeches, single payer is needed to run them aground as thieves. The federal government is suing UnitedHealth in a show of why we need single payer yesterday. Over a billion allegedly was stolen via false claims, from taxpayer money.

UnitedHealth CEO

UnitedHealth being headquartered in Minnesota is one of the state's largest businesses and high atop the Fortune 500, i.e., it is stinking of money with about 200,000 insurance bureaucrats tasked with making as much money as feasible from their business model, greed being good. Sickness, injury and death are its manna from Heaven. And it is anything but tiny-town mom and pop trying to keep the store open. Instead, it is the largest of its kind, a massive bureaucracy promoting shareholder and top management wealth as its be all, and end all:

this link

AND - UnitedHealth IS profitable and has been for years, so figure how that happens, profit being gross income less expenses; with gross being all that comes in and expenses lower meaning profit is higher:

same source

UnitedHealth pays its CEO lavishly. Well more than the salary the nation pays its President or its cabinet and agency heads. And there's no indication of any greater capability to justify the gulf, only rapaciousness and conditions fostering the ability to rape.

CEO pay across the board is obscenely high, and problematically so since Clinton White House days:

image source

with UnitedHealth receiving special mention:

Time past, a CEO’s pay was set on a scale with others in the same organization. This was dubbed “internal equity.” But in the 1980s, a consultant named Milton Rock sold the idea of “external equity.” Now, as if CEOs belong to a tribe of super­humans, they are paid on a scale with only their “peer CEOs.”

This is highly problematic. First, the peers often aren’t really peers. As Clifford recounts, to set its CEO’s pay, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) recently used a “peer” group stuffed with companies unrelated to health insurance, such as Apple (AAPL), Coca-Cola (KO), and Citigroup (C). It’s ludicrous to think that UnitedHealth’s CEO could be a candidate to run Apple. It assumes a generic market for CEOs that doesn’t exist.

And few compensation committees aim for the median of those peers. Most target the 60th percentile—or the 75th. ­Apparently every CEO is above average.

[links omitted, italics added] All of that data and reporting [excepting the opening image] is from Fortune, which is not a Berniecrat tool by anyone's measure. It is more Rockefeller/Clinton/Podesta/McConnell dyed in the wool corporatist, if anything, yet able to not slant things in the outlet's reporting too badly, given that. Readers need to remember, that by citing Fortune any stone throwing from the right wing is with sin not without, as to sourcing.

Amid all this lavishness for upper management insiders and shareholders, (with substantial overlap between those two sets), they cheat; e.g., here and specifically, here. The latter being a Fortune link again, today's news, titled, "Justice Department Sues UnitedHealth Again Over $1 Billion in Alleged False Claims," with "Again" being a key operative word:

Reuters - May 16, 2017
The U.S. Justice Department for the second time in a month sued UnitedHealth Group (UNH) on Tuesday, accusing the nation's largest health insurer of obtaining over $1 billion from Medicare to which it was not entitled.

[...] UnitedHealth had no immediate comment. It previously said it rejects the claims in the underlying whistleblower lawsuit and would fight the claims vigorously.

Medicare, a government health insurance program, serves more than 50 million Americans who are elderly or disabled. More than one-third of them are in Medicare Advantage plans run by private insurers like UnitedHealth.

In the lawsuit, the Justice Department alleged that UnitedHealth obtained inflated risk adjustment payments based on untruthful and inaccurate information about the health status of patients enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans.

The lawsuit said UnitedHealth's conduct damaged the Medicare program by over $1.14 billion from 2011 to 2014. The Justice Department said it is seeking triple damages under the False Claims Act as well as penalties.

[italics added, treble damages being applicable for egregious conduct] Apparently this is not news to UnitedHealth. Same old, same old? Or just editorial discretion?

Amid cheating, they bleat.

OBAMACARE: UnitedHealth Says Obamacare Is Costing It Billions - by Laura Lorenzetti, Jan 20, 2016

UnitedHealth Group warned nearly two months ago that new customers from the Affordable Care Act exchanges would hurt the insurer's bottom line, but it looks like it misestimated by how much as enrollments exceeded expectations.

UnitedHealth, the U.S.'s largest insurer, says [...] it would reconsider its participation in the government-mandated exchanges, according to statements made during UnitedHealth's earnings Tuesday.

[...] UnitedHealth reported [...] that UnitedHealth is expected to lose up to $745 million due to its 2016 ACA enrollees.

While that's a hefty amount of money, exchange plans are a small fraction of UnitedHealth's total business. The insurer still estimates that its adjusted earnings per share this year will be between $7.60 and $7.80 on $180 billion in revenue. The exchange-related losses also don't seem to bother investors. UnitedHealth's stock is up 3.1% since Friday's close.

[links omitted, italics added] So, if Obamacare is so painful to these folks, why not move to single payer universal healthcare for all as a right; to lessen their pain, and payroll? If a Medicare Advantage cognate is allowed under a single payer program, something NOT recommended here but possible, there'd still be that area for insurer exploitation. If the whole bundle is socialized, like firefighters, policemen, and interstate highways, that would allow them to shut their doors and go away; which would not be a bad thing for the public. One noteworthy thing, the claimed ACA loss is dwarfed by the amount they are alleged to have stolen from taxpayer money by falsification of records. Go figure what the term "negative public value" means in the context of UnitedHealth, and its cohort insurance grifters.

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