Medicaid Reform Proposal Could Benefit Thompson’s Employer
Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's Medicaid overhaul proposal, announced last week, could benefit several companies that employ him, the Washington Post reports (Lee, Washington Post, 8/8).
Thompson's proposal would shift responsibility for long-term care of elderly Medicaid beneficiaries from joint state and federal funding to the federal government and would have states focus on acute care for Medicaid beneficiaries younger than 65. Thompson's plan calls for Medicaid to begin using electronic health records and other technologies to improve case management and health information collection.
Thompson also recommended that Medicaid beneficiaries receive education on health literacy and disease prevention. According to Thompson, his plan would result in long-term savings that states could use to provide health insurance for more uninsured residents, in some cases through subsidies for private coverage (California Healthline, 8/3).
Thompson has "shopped many of the ideas around for years," but critics say that some of his recommendations now "could be good for companies that he works for," the Post reports. Thompson is on the board of St. Louis-based Centene, which operates Medicaid-funded HMOs in seven states. Thompson also is chair of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions -- part of Deloitte & Touche, which advises states on their Medicaid programs -- and is a partner at the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which has health and insurance industry clients.
According to the Post, if Thompson "becomes a driving force behind revamping Medicaid," states that hire those companies might "feel they are contracting with a player."
Thompson also is part owner and a board member of VeriChip -- a maker of implantable microchips -- which "might benefit if Medicaid were to embrace electronic medical records," the Post reports.
Thompson in a statement said, "When I was governor of Wisconsin in the mid-1980s, I witnessed first hand how this program was placing an enormous financial burden on my state and others, as well as how inefficient Medicaid was in meeting the needs of those who rely on it." Thompson added that his goal is to "initiate a meaningful dialogue with Medicaid's various stakeholders to assure that this program doesn't unravel in the coming years" (Washington Post, 8/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.