Centene Corporation: a sub-prime health insurance profiteer lands in the Midlands NHS

A Fortune 100 company that operates its core business in more than 20 states in the USA, managing publicly-funded Medicaid programmes which provide health insurance for people on a low income, Centene Corporation has just gained a significant foothold in the NHS.

Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene Corporation, told the St Louis Post -Dispatch in 2016 that he wanted the company to expand into more international markets, having established a presence in Spain as joint owner of Ribera Salud.

He did not mention that Ribera Salud is under police investigation for corruption or that it is being kicked out of the Valencia health system by the Valencia government, which is supporting the police investigation.

Facts equally ignored by Greater Nottingham Accountable Care System, which has just paid Centene £2.7m of our public money to come and impose the discredited Ribera Salud public/ private health care system on the unsuspecting Midlands.

A massive beneficiary of Obamacare

Centene is a massive beneficiary of Obamacare, which extended Medicaid and Medicare to poor and old people who previously could not get health insurance. The Obamacare Medicaid/Medicare money is channelled to individual States, that mostly pass the money on to private health insurance companies to provide health cover to these people.

In 2015 Centene Corporation made £355m profit on income of £22.8bn. While other US health insurance companies have lost money on Obama’s Affordable Care Act measures – due to the requirement to insure older and sicker patients – Centene Corporation has profited and expanded.

It has done this by focussing on low-income individuals who have lost their Medicaid eligibility and need to find a private health insurance plan. Centene offers its “marketplace plans” in the same geographic areas and with the same networks as its Medicaid business.

Making massive profits off taxpayer-funded programs

Based in St Louis, Missouri, Centene Corporation seems to be regarded locally with a certain amount of ambivalence.

In 2016, the St Louis Post-Dispatch acknowledged that,

“Centene’s rapid growth has been a boon to the region. More than 2,500 work for the company in the St. Louis area, up from the more than 900 local employees in 2012.”

From St Louis Today

But a few weeks later St Louis Today was asking caustic questions about Centene Corporation’s demand for taxpayers to cough up 19% of its US$770m headquarters expansion, pointing out:

“That is a very big ask for a company that already makes massive profits off taxpayer-funded programs. The proposed 19 percent public subsidy could be offset by less than half of last year’s profits alone. Shareholders might not like it, but amortize it over 30 years and they’d barely notice.
We recognize that this is the way companies do business with the localities that host them. They offer jobs and the bragging rights that come with having a big-name company on the home turf. But is the cost to taxpayers worth it?
…this company, which wouldn’t exist except for taxpayer-paid programs, wants $147 million more from taxpayers. Some of the money Missouri saved by hiring Centene to manage parts of its Medicaid program would go back to Centene in the form of tax incentives.”

People of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, beware of the £2.7m can of worms that your NHS commissioners have landed on you!

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