In 2019 Medicare quietly launched a scheme called Direct Contracting allowing companies to control the healthcare of tens of millions of traditional Medicare and Medicare supplement beneficiaries.

Direct Contracting inserts a for-profit company between patients and medical providers. Companies are paid a monthly fee to cover a portion of a patients expenses keeping 40% of the fee that’s not spent on patient care.  Beneficiaries can be enrolled without their full knowledge or consent and to opt out, a patient must change their primary care doctor.  Companies lure doctors with promises of greater reimbursement from Medicare and payments for enrolling their patients into the plan. Companies were granted a waiver that exempts them from certain anti-kickback regulations that normally keep doctors from entering their patients in a for-profit plan, so doctors can be paid to enroll their patients in the scheme even without the patient’s permission.

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