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Since he’s a former health care lobbyist I guess it’s not surprising Secretary Lanier Cansler has decided to run the Department of Health and Human Services as if, well, it was an HMO or an insurance company.
Of course, the thing folks hate most about insurance companies is simple: When they go to their doctor, he says, You need this treatment, then, an insurance company bureaucrat tells them, You don’t need that treatment and, what’s more, we’re not paying for it.
Turning DHHS into an HMO is an odd thing for the liberals in Governor Perdue’s Administration to see as a good idea – but that’s what’s happening right now.
Step #1 is handing out $250 million in no bid state contracts, including contracts to companies to a lot of the same people Secretary Lanier Cansler used to be friendly with in his lobbying days. For instance, in recent weeks DHHS announced it’s given four huge state contracts to CCME, a firm Secretary Cansler’s former lobbying partner works for. Cansler gave another contract – for a whopping for $23 million – to a Tennessee company called Med Solutions.
What Secretary Cansler wants Med Solutions to do is pure HMO: If a Medicaid patient goes to his doctor and the doctor tells him he needs a CAT scan, MRI or ultra sound, Med Solutions is going to decide whether he gets it. And here’s the caveat: Secretary Cansler is going to pay Med Solutions more money each time it tells a patient, No. So if you’re a Medicaid Patient and your doctor tells you that you need a CAT Scan whether you get it or not is going to be decided by a corporate bureaucrat in Tennessee who makes more money if he turns you down.
Anybody want to predict what’s going to happen?
None of this seems to set off alarm bells with the bureaucrats at DHHS or anyone else in the Perdue Administration – Secretary Cansler just continues to blissfully pass out no bid contracts with the same sang-froid he had last summer when – in the middle of the budget crisis – he spent $38,000 to buy crab pots to set a handicapped man up in the fishing business.
It’s like it’s never occurred to Secretary Cansler or anyone else at DHHS one day all these chickens are going to come home to roost and they’re going to have another boondoggle on their hands, like the one they created a few years ago (when Cansler was Under-Secretary) that led to the mental health care meltdown that cost taxpayers $400 million.


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