Yesterday, a House committee found that the Pentagon has been effectively writing blank checks to insurance companies providing coverage for civilian employees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Apparently, the Pentagon allows its contractors to negotiate their own insurance contracts, unlike the State Department, the US Agency for International Development and the Army Corps of Engineers, who have all selected a single insurance carrier to provide the insurance at fixed rates. The Boston Globe reports that KBR Inc., one of the largest defense contractors in Iraq, paid the insurance giant AIG $284 million for medical and disability coverage under the Defense Base Act, a reference to the federal law mandating the insurance. Because of the way KBR’s contract is structured, this premium, along with an $8 million markup for KBR, gets billed to taxpayers. All told, the insurance companies have collected nearly $600 million in excessive profits over the past five years, according to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s report.
The Defense Department refuses to adjust its approach to managing the program. And the worst part? The injured employees working for contractors- the people these insurance plans are supposed to help- have to fight the insurance companies to get their benefits,” according to Representative Henry Waxman who spoke at a hearing yesterday. “Delays and denials in paying claims are the rule.”
I’ve heard so many stories like this, about huge chunks of that $900 billion we’ve spent on the war so far going down shitters, into corrupt pockets, or disappearing into thin air. This is just the latest. What pisses me off is that it’s one aspect of the war that we actually have complete control over, and we’re colossally fucking it up. How can anyone talk of stabilizing Iraq when we can’t even manage our fucking own bank accounts?