Get a Load of This...
Have y’all ever heard of MAXIMUS Inc? They are a private, for-profit American company that is contracted by states around the country to run social service programs including Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare. For the 2018 fiscal year, Maximus reported an annual revenue of $2.39 billion, and they made every cent off the backs of poor and low-income people who rely on safety net services. We’re telling y’all this because Maximus is right here in West Virginia, and they’ve been here for quite a while. We can’t tell you precisely when Maximus arrived in WV because their contract(s) with the DHHR are nowhere to be found on their website or the DHHR website, but we can say definitively that they have been involved in our Medicaid system since at least 2015.
Because their contracts are nowhere to be found, we can’t be sure how they get paid here in West Virginia. However, we do know that in Indiana Maximus gets a check every time they touch an application for the services they run. So, to make the kind of money they make, kicking poor folks off of their services is the name of the game. If they kick poor folks off of safety net programs, or even more often send confusing, ambiguous, and misleading messages about folks’ enrollment status then not only are individuals forced to re-navigate the application process to these programs, but Maximus puts more and more cash into their pockets.
This is what happens when for-profit enterprises run government programs. People argue it “increases efficiency,” but efficiency for who? It sure ain’t efficient for the poor folks getting kicked off the programs that we need to survive. Meanwhile the folks at Maximus are making bank and investors have caught notice. A bunch of articles written just this month by financial analysis publications emphasize the incredible and growing investment value of Maximus. But the people running social service programs should NOT be extracting and accumulating wealth in the process! Maximus is perpetuating and reinforcing the ages old trend of extracting wealth from poor, marginalized, and exploited populations and giving that wealth, freely, to the rich. Scarcity is manufactured to make us think that it has to be this way—it does not!
Sign up NOW to ride the bus with us to Indianapolis, Indiana on July 1st as we stand with our partner organizations from Indiana and Ohio against the greed of Maximus. The ride is FREE and will be covered by Community Change Action. The bus will be picking up folks in Parkersburg, Charleston, and Huntington. The trip will be a one-day turn around, departing in the early morning hours and returning that night. Locking arms with other states in this fight is going to be the best way for us to learn what works and what doesn’t while, at the same time, developing relationships and allies who will show up for us when we put out the call. If you have any questions, please reach out to Amy Jo at firstname.lastname@example.org.