Loose Lips

Gray Admin: No Quid Pro Quo on Medicaid Contract

Jeff Thompson

The Gray administration pushed back today against any whiff of a notion that Jeff Thompson's Medicaid managed-care organization, D.C. Chartered Health Plan Inc., improperly benefited from Thompson's financial contributions to the mayor's 2010 political campaign.

Thompson, you all know, had his offices and houses raided by federal agents last week. The feds also told the city to preserve its records related to its $322 million-a-year contract with Chartered. Last year, the Gray administration pushed through the D.C. Council, on a 7-6 vote, a last-minute increase in Medicaid payments to Chartered and another managed care organization. The administration also settled a complaint Chartered had filed with the Contract Appeals Board saying it had been underpaid for providing dental care.

Today, the Gray administration made top officials available to reporters for a background briefing on the rationale behind both the increase in Medicaid payments and the settlement. A thick packet complete with eight "exhibits" explaining how the settlement talks went down was also distributed.

The short-version explanation for both moves: The previous administration was cooking with bad numbers, and the Gray administration had to fix their mess.

Not that this is news; the Gray administration's been giving the same explanations for boosting Medicaid payments and for settling since last year. When backed up with emails and graphs from the District's contracted actuary, Mercer, they are rationales that, frankly, are pretty convincing.

But that doesn't mean this story is going away. Much to dismay of Gray officials, the Washington Post editorial board ran a piece today declaring that the last-minute vote to increase the Medicaid bucks underscores "the need to do something about the unseemly nexus of contracts and campaign contributions in D.C. politics."

And the fact that At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who is one of the largest beneficiaries of Thompson's network of donors, was among the seven to vote for the increased payments to Chartered is sure to be a factor in his latest campaign. Tweeteth challenger Peter Shapiro after the Post editorial ran: "Worth noting: VO cast deciding vote for this $32M 'emergency' payment to bagman Jeff Thompson." Nevermind that Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells, who hasn't taken any Thompson-linked money, voted for the increase as well. This is politics.

Screen grab via C-SPAN

  • Kandu

    where oh where will this go in the GGW/Wells echo chamber? Nary a peep from IMGOPH, CCCAPREZ, and the rest of the Wells worshipers. those fools no better than the barry lovers.

  • NE John

    Yes, I was surprised by that revelation as well Kandu

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    Wells votes are guided by his thinking he'll take a shot at the EOM in 2014. He bucks here and there but he also cow tows.

    This dude Thompson has money coming out his ears.

  • cminus

    What, exactly, does Wells have to apologize for here? He voted in favor of a payment recommended by the District's independent outside actuary, and had no conflict of interest in doing so. Just because Gray and Thompson are both looking sketchy lately, it doesn't mean that every single thing they've ever done was inappropriate.

  • DC taxpayer

    I don't see what this shows, other than Chartered could present a convincing case that under its existing contract it was owed more money than the District paid.

    The real question in my mind is: is Chartered actually providing services that are worth the amount of its contract, did it have to competitively bid for the contract, and are there others out there who could do the same job or better for less money?

    If the shenanigans the Council pulled around its other big contracts (and I'm thinking of the lottery in particular) I suspect if anyone looks into it, we'll find that the District is overpaying for lousy services. The fact that Chartered can show that its owed more to provide these services than was actually paid by the District does nothing to answer those questions.

  • jimbo

    Councilmartyr was hoping to get some of the cash. One has to show worthiness of the largess. Plus no one has ever accused Councilmartyr of being the sharpest crayon in the box. Look at his oversight of DCYS and the whole Thomas graft deal.

  • Ward5Dude

    Perhaps the paperwork behind the increases sheds some light into some sketchiness by the previous administration and the Feds are interested in that...no one really knows what is going on here - it is pure speculation.

  • Michele Hawthorne

    Influentialsnetwork.com has copied and pasted your article in their website. This violstes the digital millennium copyright act. They have stolen many other writers articles from policito.com and examiner.com. I thought you might like to know.

  • StrangeFruit

    The hypocrisy of CM Wells always rises to the top!

  • DCDem

    Wells is the worst kind of politician.

  • James

    You gotta love the continued "blame Fenty" crap by the Gray Administration. Gray pretends that as Council chairman that he had nothing to do with oversight of the Charted contract will Fenty was Mayor. Also, one has to wonder if the chairman of the health committee, David Catania, voted in favor of the Chartered contract. He more than any other Councilmember would know the details and therefore the merits of the new contract.

  • InIt2WinIt

    James. The Mayor does have GREAT latitude over contracts entered into during their administrations. You can bet you last dollar that in some way, form or fashion that Catania played a large role in discerning who this contract was granted to.

  • http://letschange.org Respected Citizens

    DC Dems you are correct, Wells has double standards and is a bonafide KKK.

  • Skrilla Dilla

    @Calvin Gurley (or Respected Citizens, since you are the same) - "bonafide KKK", eh? How about you provide some bonafide proof?

  • Typical DC BS

    That's a great picture of Jeff Thompson. He could be a movie star. Very distinguished looking guy.

  • Joe

    This just shows what a swamp of corruption DC is. The only CM in this discussion whose hands are clean, Tommy Wells, is getting shit from all of the know-nothing commenters above, cronies of Orange, Gray, Barry, etc. It's a textbook example of why this city is such a mess; you do the right thing and people give you hell for it. Keep up the good work Tommy! Don't get sucked into the slime like the rest of them.

  • InIt2WinIt


  • SEis4ME

    @Joe, no, this is just a textbook example of how Saint Wells' fans bow a the helm of his robe like he's God.

    If the sky is blue and wells argues that's it's purple, you fanatics will then argue that it's purple.

  • Skrilla Dilla

    Uh, I think you mean the "hem" of his robe, SEis4ME. And I don't see anyone bowing to Wells, just stating that he never took money from Thompson and asking crazy Calvin for some proof. In what way is that fanatical?

  • H Street Landlord

    Great post Joe.

    Wells is the only one who hasn't taken money from dude who has had his house raided by the FBI. Keep up the good work Tommy!

  • SEis4ME

    @Skrilla...yeah thanks for that.

    Now what joe went out to say is that saint wells of six is taking shit from know nothing commenters who are "cronies" of Brown, Gray, Barry etc. Logic born of minds like that is the best indicator of fanaticism.

    Something is mentally unstable about anyone who actually believes that.

  • gitchafaxstr8

    Heyyyy SEis4ME: You know what's goin' on with Skrilla, Joe and especially H Street Landlord. Not mentally unstable, but finacially enabled by St. Tommy.

    Didn't someone say he voted to give that extra $32 mil to Jeff T? Maybe he thought/was hoping he'd be included in the next round of donations to pols.

    And what about that DUI?

  • Skrilla Dilla

    Ha! I'm certainly not financially enabled by Tommy Wells. Nor have I ever donated to his (or any other) campaign. Nice try though.

    BTW, what DUI? Since we are not aware, the date of an arrest would be appreciated - especially since Crazy Calvin hasn't followed up with his "bonafide KKK" proof.

    And SEis4ME, while I wouldn't use Joe's words exactly, it stands to reason that Brown, Gray, Barry etc supporters would generally oppose Wells ideologically - their platforms are relatively different.

    Finally, with regard to "Saint Wells", why are YOU opposed to him, SEis4ME?

  • SEis4ME

    And SEis4ME, while I wouldn't use Joe's words exactly, it stands to reason that Brown, Gray, Barry etc supporters would generally oppose Wells ideologically - their platforms are relatively different.

    Finally, with regard to "Saint Wells", why are YOU opposed to him, SEis4ME?

    I don't think that sort of reasoning has any sort of close relationship to reality. In what regard are Gray supporters ideologically opposed to Wells? I don't think that's an accurate assessment at all.

    Why am I opposed to Wells? Hmmm, well I would say that I can take him or leave him. If he moves to Afghanistan, I don't think the city will be missing out on much. I also think he's a divisive, pandering, grandstander.

  • Skrilla Dilla

    I'll explain from my perspective. Given that all of the above (Vince, Kwame, Marion, and Tommy) can best be described as "liberals" in the general sense, both they, and their constituencies want different things within the liberal canon. To wit:

    1. Vince, Kwame, Barry, and many of their supporters do not consider "smart growth" a key agenda item. Wells and his supporters do.

    2. Tommy is not part of the DC political class, and his supporters generally see Kwame, Vince, and Marion as part of that class, and what it represents (e.g. Control Boards).

    3. Tommy has pushed for ethics reform. While his proposal was voted down, numerous amendements have now been supported by those who voted against them the first time around (how's that for grandstanding, btw). Kwame, Vince, and Marion (along with the Grahamstander and Jack Evans) are the main reasons why ethics reform is needed - along with the dearly departed HTJ, of course. K, V, & M supporters are not strong supporters of ethics reform.

    4. Wells and his supporters are more progressive socially than K, V, and Marion - especially Marion. Please see Marion's comments on his gay marriage vote for an example of he and his constituents views.

    That's a short list - but I tink enough to demonstrate that there is a "close relationship with reality".

    Funny that you consider Tommy divisive. As compared to Marion? Did you notice Vince's mayoral campaign - that was about as race-baity and divisive as it could have been. Anyway, totally different issue.