Saturday, 14 July 2012

My Neighborhood

It reads like a fancy TV movie script.

There’s a big helath insurance company which provides the District of Columbia’s city employees their health insurance. The city pays the company, and services get provided. At some point around 2008/2009…..the city, under Mayor Fenty, realized there were huge overpayments going on….so they went to court. The company, DC Chartered Health Plan…..was making $350 million off this contract annually.  Once the legal guys had done their song and dance in front of a court….the company owed DC $12 million.

The company, as you can imagine….was unhappy. They paid their fine in 2010, and they remembered what Mayor Fenty had done.

So months passed, and the November election occurred. It was an interesting mayor’s race. Old mayor runs against city councilman Vincent Gray, and there was this unusual character who popped up to slam the old mayor (Fenty) as another candidate in the background. This oddball character stirred up the black neighborhoods in DC, and in the end….probably helped to reshape at least three thousand votes either toward himself or toward Gray, but not toward Fenty. Gray wins, and the oddball character suddenly is on the hiring group….coming into a $100k a year job.

Just one problem….there’s a check of his background, and police record. Issues pop up. The oddball character is let go after a month. You can imagine his anger and hostility….he was supposed to have a nifty $100k job for four years minimum. The oddball character runs off to the TV stations, and all the political folks line up to deny any credibility toward the guy. It was an interesting month that made everyone laugh. Well….the Feds came around to interview the oddball guy, and everything he said….made sense and had facts attached.

So here sits Mayor Gray….two years into this game, and the Feds are now proving various details. The health insurance company? Well….that’s an interesting thing. There was a reimbursement deal made between DC and the company….so DC coughed up $32 million. So even as they paid the fine out to DC for $12 million….they still made it up with $20 million, and the $650k in illegal campaign contributions? Not worth mentioning.

The health insurance guy in this mess? Jeffrey Thompson. He’s kinda disappeared from public life over the past couple of months. At the very least…..I’m thinking he could end up with a fine and twelve months in prison.

Current Mayor Gray, who was all part of the deal? I’m guessing he either resigns his office or gets arrested. The old mayor (Fenty)? He hasn’t said much. I’m guessing he’s figured out the scheme and pretty angry over the whole mess. Made for a TV movie? Yes….without any doubt, but no would dare write the script for this and get a TV network talked into the mess.

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