It hasn't exactly gone smoothly for Stephen Parente, the Minnesota Insurance Industry Chair of Health Finance over in the Carlson School. (The fact that a university would house an endowed chair with this name -- and that anyone would actually accept it with a straight face -- says something disturbing about the desperate, craven state of American universities today.) Mr. Trump wants Parente to be an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, where he can better serve his insurance industry overlords. But Parente has still not been confirmed. And now comes this blow from Politico, which discovered that UnitedHealth, the largest health insurance company in the nation, has slipped the University of Minnesota $1.2 million to fund Parente's research center.
Conflict of interest? Influence-peddling? No, of course not. A UnitedHealth spokesperson says,
“As the largest company headquartered in Minnesota, we have a long-standing, multi-year partnership with our home state University of Minnesota and are grateful for and proud of the partnership."
Yet another proud moment for Minnesota's flagship educational institution.