The director of the new agency created to oversee the government takeover of the nation’s healthcare system was the Chairman and Executive Officer of a Maryland company that cheated taxpayers out of more than $74 million in Medicaid overpayments.
One can only imagine what he will do in his new role as Obamacare’s top dog in charge of regulating and controlling the lucrative, private insurance market. At the president’s new Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Steve Larsen will have an incredible amount of power and influence in a number of areas with no oversight.
As head of the agency, Larsen, the one-time CEO of Amerigroup Maryland and the state’s former insurance commissioner, will oversee four divisions with widespread power; the Office of Oversight, the Office of Insurance Programs, the Office of Consumer Support, and the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges. The divisions are responsible for everything from “crafting and enforcing new insurance regulations” in the private market to overseeing state-based insurance exchanges for individuals and businesses.
When Larsen ran Amerigroup Maryland, the company was embroiled in a huge corruption scandal for billing Uncle Sam for medical services that about 90,000 low-income residents never received in the District of Columbia. Amerigroup was one of three healthcare contractors involved in the $100 million scheme, which was exposed in 2007 by D.C.’s Office of the Inspector General.
Larsen’s Deputy Director at the CCIIO is Liz Fowler, the former vice president of health benefits giant WellPoint, which serves around 33 million people. As a top staffer for the U.S. Senator (Max Baucus) who drafted and helped pass Obamacare, Fowler played a key role in crafting the bill’s language.What better way to reward her than to put her in charge of consumer issues and oversight of the nation’s entire healthcare system?
The CCIIO also has four deputy directors that each runs a main office, but no one is really sure who they are or their qualifications. The agency’s organizational chart only lists Larsen and a Timothy Hill, who evidently has left because the position is currently vacant, according to the CCIIO’s website.
The entire process surrounding the Obama Administration’s hostile takeover of the nation’s healthcare system has been veiled in secrecy. Judicial Watch has sued the administration to make the information public. Last year JW obtained documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding closed-door healthcare meetings between union officials and Vice President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle.
This week JW obtained thousands of pages of additional documents involving the administration’s secretive process in granting waivers exempting companies and unions from inconvenient provisions of Obamacare. As of July 2011, 1,472 one-year waivers and 106 three-year waivers were granted, covering some 3.4 million enrollees, more than half of which belong to unions. Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members account for only about 12% of the total workforce.