Critics say Thompson's Medicaid reform plan could be self-serving

Share this content:

It didn't take long for critics to assail broad recommendations for Medicaid reform aired by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson last week. Some observers said Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin, had "shopped many of the ideas around for years."

Further, ideas promoted by Thompson could be beneficial to companies he now works for, noted a Washington Post report. He is on the board of a company (Centene) that operates Medicaid-funded HMOs in seven states, for example. He also is chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, an arm of Deloitte & Touche that gives advice to individual states on their Medicaid programs. Thompson's law firm also has numerous health and insurance clients.

In addition, Thompson, the former top U.S. healthcare official is part owner of VeriChip, which manufactures implantable microchips, something that could become much more powerful if the use of medical records were expanded.

As part of Thompson's "Medicaid Makeover" plan, he calls for Medicaid to make broader use of electronic health records. He also says the federal government should assume more responsibility for long-term care of elderly Medicaid beneficiaries; state programs should concentrate on beneficiaries younger than 65, he maintains.