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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Wellpoint cashes in from the law its Flexian VP, Liz Fowler, wrote

You remember Liz Fowler, right? The Flexian who crafted ObamaCare for Max Baucus while on secondment from her "real" job as a Wellpoint VP, and who then went on to the White House, and then went on to cash in as a Big Pharma lobbyist? Of course you do. And as it turns out -- hold onto your hats, folks! -- she did very well for Wellpoint when she'd parked herself on The Hill:

No health insurance company has aligned itself with Obamacare as closely as WellPoint. The nation's second-largest health insurer opted to participate in the health insurance exchange for every state where it operated. WellPoint's stock scored huge gains in 2013, climbing 51%.

Did the Obamacare connection help make WellPoint a big winner? Yes -- and no. The company's participation in those state exchanges hasn't made much difference so far. Obamacare enrollment has been far behind projections.

However, another facet of Obamacare has helped WellPoint. As a result of the health reform legislation, several states have expanded their Medicaid programs. Those states include California and New York, both of which happen to be [oh ha ha ha!!!!] states where WellPoint does business. Medicaid enrollment stands out as one of the few bright spots for Obamacare thus far. WellPoint, with the largest Medicaid membership of any major insurer, is poised to be a big beneficiary.

A brilliant corporate move. You can see Fowler working out strategy with her C-suite buddies: "What can they possibly not fuck up? Yeah, Medicaid! It already works! They don't have to build a website or anything!" And Wellpoint would have had every opportunity to become intimately familiar with Administration foibles; that's what's so great about being a Flexian!

How much you want to bet that when ObamaCare is "tweaked," Fowler will be right there at the table, wearing one Flexian hat, or another, or possibly several!~

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Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Great post, Lambert.

I wonder what percentage of Wellpoint's revenues derive from Public-Private-Partnerships whereby Wellpoint acts as the toll collector (rent extractor) in our nationwide public health care programs (federal, state, city)?

This illustrates perfectly that at the top of the so-called Welfare Queen food chain sits not a populace of single moms, poor kids or disabled people, but Wellpoint -- a Private Corporation, Job Creator, Engine of Growth-Wealth-Greatness, Gaultian Personification.

Let's quiz our market-solution friends on how they think Wellpoint makes its money. Anyone willing to take the other side of my penny ante bet that they would be absolutely apoplectic if we told them the naked truth -- that one of Wellpoint's big revenue streams now is Medicaid?

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

I have a dim memory of reading in the financial press about a year ago (?) that Wellpoint acquired two or three companies who had something to do with scraping pennies off people getting Medicaid.

Tried to look it up and see this. "07/11/12- Medicaid companies soared Monday after major insurer WellPoint announced it had agreed to pay 4.9 billion for Amerigroup." The article reminds me that Wellpoint started on the acquisitions after the Supremes ruled on Ocare legality. Wouldn't want to buy a company like that unless you were sure it was going to be a funnel for government money.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Well that is some first rate factual investigating, Quixote. Thank you.

Indeed -- you can't have a Free Market without risk-free guaranteed profits. Because Capitalism and Ayn Rand.

"Scraping pennies" off Medicaid is a good phrase. This seamy back-story to Wellpoint's "growth strategy" really is grotesque. They even refer to "Medicaid companies" -- with not even a pretense that Medicaid is anything but a Public-Private-Partnership taking public money and funnelling it to a "private" company.

It is a testament to the skill and triumph of the political classes' propaganda (democrat and republican) that Medicaid is associated in people's mind with a government program that helps vulnerable Americans [or leeches, if you're a centrist Democrat or a Republican], rather than the truth, which is that Medicaid dollars do far more to prop up up and guarantee profits of giant corporations (Wellpoint).