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Ways and Means Republicans Seek Documents from UnitedHealth Group as Part of Congressional Oversight Investigation

April 19, 2010

Washington D.C- Ways and Means Republicans today sent a letter to UnitedHealth Group (United) inquiring as to its financial relationship with AARP in regard to the marketing of Medicare Medigap and Medicare Advantage policies. United-AARP insurance plans cover more Medicare beneficiaries than any other insurer, and in 2008 AARP received $652,701,000 from insurance companies with 63 percent ($411,201,630) coming from United. The letter was signed by Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Wally Herger (R-CA), and Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) and Dave Reichert (R-WA).

In the letter, the Members requested details of the United-AARP financial relationship in the interest of taxpayers who fund the Medicare program and the millions of seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies.  While AARP has previously denied informal requests for documents on this topic, the Republicans noted that United has a long history of turning over contractual and proprietary information similar to what has been requested in order for Congress to fulfill oversight duties.

CAMP: “I urge United to comply with our Congressional investigation so we may conduct the necessary oversight to ensure taxpayers and seniors are being served well.  There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and the well being of not only the Medicare program but the nation’s seniors who rely on it for medical care.”
HERGER: “The special-interest deals that helped grease the passage of the recent health care legislation served as a reminder that we need far more transparency in Washington.  Our goal here is simple – to take an honest look at the relationship between AARP and the health insurance industry and ensure that AARP is acting as an appropriate advocate for seniors.”

BROWN-WAITE: “It is very apparent to me that AARP is more concerned about their bottom line than the well being of their membership.  I represent more Medicare recipients than any Member of Congress—these questions need to be asked and it’s my responsibility to ask them.”

REICHERT: “Seniors deserve a straight answer from United and AARP on their financial relationship. Is there a financial benefit to AARP as the government takes over health care in America? They owe an answer to seniors: those losing their benefits and those paying more in additional fees and taxes. There’s a lot at stake for America’s seniors and their future health care benefits. I urge United and AARP to be transparent and honest in this inquiry.”