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In 2004, the year before Mr. Catania became the Health Committee chairman, The Times reported that Chartered had been given an extra $2 million in 2002 to operate a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week health clinic. The Thompson firm got the money, but taxpayers never got their clinic.

In addition, an auditor blew Chartered’s cover with news that the health care firm had spent more than $12 million on other companies Mr. Thompson owned and charged the city double the highest rates paid to other clinics, and that Mr. Thompson had paid himself nearly $400,000 for management and consulting fees.

And get this: A transit company not owned by Mr. Thompson was charging patients only $1.70 for transportation, but Mr. Thompson’s transit company was charging Chartered patients more than three times that amount, $5.35.

To his credit, Mr. Catania requested that audit. He was also critical of a $7.5 million settlement the Gray administration agreed to pay last year to Mr. Thompson’s company in connection with a billing dispute over dental reimbursement rates. Mr. Thompson has stepped down, and Mr. Catania supports government takeover of Chartered.

See, when federal investigators began probing campaign finance irregularities, they raided Mr. Thompson’s home and offices. While we have yet to see the depth or breadth of that probe, suffice it to say that his managed care empire began crumbling into taxpayers’ laps way back with The Times’ initial stories. D.C. taxpayers are now left holding a near-empty bag.

The government lifeline tossed to Chartered means taxpayers likely will be bilked again.

Then there’s Mr. Catania’s plan to keep sick and indigent folks who live east of the Anacostia River out of sight.

The short story is that the city’s public hospital, D.C. General, closed in 2001, and Mr. Catania became one of the leading voices for a private company to take over United Medical Center, the only full-service hospital east of the Anacostia River.

It has financial problems, too.

So much for oversight.

Mr. Catania seemingly has tried to make a concession, saying at a hearing this year that Chartered and United Medical have “neither managed care nor cost.”

The District needs a new vision on health care — one that isn’t in the hands of Mr. Catania and that neither mimics Romneycare nor Obamacare.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at

NOTE: An earlier version of this column did not indicate that HIV figures cited in a survey funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were drawn from areas with high infection rates and poverty.