Kucinich Asks AIG Why It’s Denying Claims From Injured Contractors in Iraq
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 7, 2009
by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – May 7, 2009 4:58 pm EDT
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, fired off an angry letter to AIG. (WDCPIX file photo)Heeding a call  from fellow congressman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced today that he was planning to hold a hearing in June on whether AIG has routinely blocked medical care  for civilian contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kucinich, chair of the domestic policy panel of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, fired off an angry letter  to the company, saying that he was “alarmed” by a joint investigation by ProPublica, ABC News and the Los Angeles Times. The investigation  found that the troubled insurance giant routinely denied basic medical care such as psychological counseling and even prosthetic legs for civilians injured in the war zone.
Under a federal law known as the Defense Base Act , contractor companies are required to purchase workers compensation insurance for employees deployed to a war zone. AIG dominates the market for such insurance, handling nearly 90 percent of all claims in Iraq. Government audits and inquiries have questioned whether AIG and other carriers charged “excessive ” premiums for the insurance. Taxpayers ultimately pay for such insurance as part of the contract price.
“Apparently, AIG is profiting both by charging unreasonably high premiums to contracting firms and by denying or delaying legitimate claims of civilian workers for medical care and other services needed as a result of war zone injuries,” Kucinich wrote .
The findings are “all the more disturbing,’’ Kucinich wrote, given that AIG has turned federal supplicant, with promises of almost $70 billion  in taxpayer aid to date. “The Subcommittee is interested in obtaining information from AIG shedding light on why there has been such a high rate of denials and unreasonable delays in processing claims, and why it is reaping such huge profits at taxpayers’ expense,” Kucinich wrote.
AIG did not return a request for comment. In the past, the company has said the “vast majority” of claims are paid without dispute “when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received.”