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.”