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Medicaid millionaires reap big profits in nonprofit care for disabled

The New York Times, August 3, 2011
Medicaid money created quite a nice life for the Levy brothers from Flatbush, Brooklyn. The brothers, Philip and Joel, earned close to $1 million a year each as the two top executives running a Medicaid-financed nonprofit organization serving the developmentally disabled. They each had luxury cars paid for with public money. And when their children went to college, they could pass on the tuition bills to their nonprofit group. Philip H. Levy went as far as charging the organization $50,400 for his daughter's living expenses one year when she attended graduate school at New York University. The rise of the Levy brothers, from scruffy bearded social workers in the 1970s to millionaires with homes in the Hamptons, Sutton Place and Palm Beach Gardens, reveals much about New York's system for caring for the developmentally disabled-- those with conditions like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism. The state spends, by far, more than any other caring for this population: $10 billion this year, and roughly 20 cents of every dollar spent nationally.

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