Last year, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News exposed how the giant companies Texas pays to provide health insurance to extremely poor and disabled people were systematically skimping on care to boost profits. Days after “Pain & Profit” began publishing, Texas lawmakers launched official inquiries, millions of dollars were freed up to increase state oversight and about two dozen bills were later filed in the legislature. Now the stories are making waves in Washington. The ranking member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging says the problems exposed by The News and other outlets warrant a federal investigation into managed care organizations, or MCOs, which make billions of dollars a year for handling Medicaid benefits for Texas and other states. In a detailed letter to the Health and Human Services Inspector General last week, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said the stories “illuminate a dangerous pattern of denials and needless red tape” that enriched shareholders at “the expense of those most in need of medical care.” “Due to concerns that some MCOs are putting their bottom line ahead of patient health and safety, I am requesting that you open an investigation into this industry to shed light on whether all patients enrolled in Medicaid managed care can successfully access the services to which they are entitled,” Casey wrote. States and the federal government pay about $264 billion a year to the Medicaid companies, according the Kaiser Family Foundation.
– Dallas News