Confirming a prior Mother Jones report (Sept./Oct. 1992), a fugitive living in Spain told ABC's "20/20" that Jeb Bush made a crucial call to Washington when his HMO needed help.
Miguel Recarey's International Medical Centers faced pressure in 1985 to comply with the "50-50" rule, which prohibits certain HMOs from having more than half of its customers on Medicare. According to Recarey, the middle son of then-Vice President Bush called Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler (meanwhile, IMC paid Bush's company a $75,000 "real-estate consultant" fee). Former HHS chief of staff McClain Haddow says Bush's call gave IMC a waiver to the 50-50 rule, and Recarey allegedly bilked $200 million in Medicare funds while leaving 150,000 seniors without coverage. Jeb Bush, the GOP loser in Florida's 1994 governor's race, denies calling Heckler.