Health

Los Angeles Health Agency for Poor Spends Taxpayer Money on Lavish Parties, Big Salaries (Video)

| by Michael Allen

L.A. Care Health Plan is a taxpayer funded Los Angeles agency that is supposed to help low income people buy affordable health insurance.

However, the agency has also been throwing itself lavish parties with taxpayer money (video below).

According to CBS Los Angeles, which investigated L.A. Care’s credit card statements and salaries for 2012, those in charge of the agency spent $8,100 for an expensive dinner for 59 people and bought 29 bottles of wine that cost more than $1,100.

L.A. Care also spent $58,000 on a 2011 holiday party, $16,000 on gift cards, $5,000 on personalized cookies, thousands on catered working lunches and meals at expensive restaurants.

“I think we’ve been very responsible in our use of our funds here at L.A. Care. I understand that people looking at isolation at one particular expenditure might say, ‘Gee, why are they doing that?’ But I think you have to look at the whole picture,” Howard Kahn, the CEO of L.A. Care, told CBS Los Angeles.

Kahn also claims the organization is run well, but CBS Los Angeles says L.A. Care has a $20 million deficit and had to cancel its Healthy Kids program because it lacked money.

Kahn himself was paid a $434K salary, another $86K in incentive compensation, plus $10K in parking and car allowance, and $200K in benefits, which is far more than the President of the United States.

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Last year, the U.S. government busted over 100 health care providers for racking up over $430 million in medical fraud, noted ABC News. The schemes included Medicare kick backs and fraudulent claims to Medicare.

"Today's enforcement actions reveal an alarming and unacceptable trend of individuals attempting to exploit federal health care programs to steal billions in taxpayer dollars for personal gain," stated U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Sources: ABC News and CBS Los Angeles