President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner previously controlled a health insurance company that just unveiled a new website geared toward directing people to locations where they can be tested for the new COVID-19 coronavirus. The company, Oscar Health Insurance, had held itself out as being founded by Joshua Kushner, Jared’s brother. But state records uncovered by Mother Jones on Tuesday revealed that, when the business was incorporated in 2013, both Jared and Joshua owned Oscar’s parent company, Thrive Partners III GP LLC.
Thrive Partners III GP LLC was owned by Thrive Capital Partners III LP; Jared Kushner divested from Thrive Capital in 2017.
Oscar announced its new website hours before President Trump falsely claimed during a press conference last week that Google was working on a site that would allow users to evaluate their symptoms through an online survey, directing those exhibiting symptoms of the virus to nearby drive-through testing sites. During the press conference, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx held up a flow chart created by Jared Kushner purporting to show how the website would work. Many pointed out that Birx’s flowchart oddly used the term “consumers” to refer to those who would presumably be seeking testing sites.
This is the amazing website promised: It is an offer to us “consumers” as a new product. It has almost no information. It says no testing unless symptoms. and basically says if you have symptoms, you can go to a drive through. https://t.co/vdpR1OzvmU pic.twitter.com/oxfVw5rJiO
— Steven A. Cash: Proud Alum of the “Steady State” (@cashsteven1) March 13, 2020
The steps described in the press release bear a marked similarity to the flowchart, both referring to the test subjects as “consumers” rather than “patients.”
Joshua Kushner (brother to Jared) is a major investor in Oscar Health, and the Times reported that Jared was in close communication with Joshua’s father-in-law in the days leading up to the announcement.
Jared Kushner was, indeed, in touch with his brother’s father-in-law, emergency room doctor Kurt Kloss. He sought recommendations on combatting COVID-19 and Kloss came back with 13 recommendations from a Facebook group filled with other emergency room doctors.
But according to Mother Jones, a 2013 report from the New York State Department of Financial Services detailing Oscar’s financial structure showed that Jared Kushner was actually far more involved in the company than previous reports had let on, literally stating that “Jared Kushner and Joshua Kushner are deemed the ultimate controlling persons in Oscar’s holding company system.” That changed:
A December 2018 state insurance exam, which reported on the firm’s corporate structure as of the end of 2015, noted a possible shift in ownership interests, reporting that at this point Joshua Kushner was “deemed the ultimate controlling person in Oscar’s holding company.” (By then, Trump’s presidential campaign was well under way, and Jared Kushner was helping to run it.) Yet the two Thrive entities remained the controlling parties in Oscar’s ownership structure, according to the 2018 report. And the financial disclosure form Jared Kushner filed when he entered the White House in 2017 showed that he had retained an interest in those venture funds.
Reached for comment, a White House spokesperson told Mother Jones that “Oscar had no involvement” in the administration’s coronavirus response. Oscar told The Verge that it “did not connect with the White House to provide input on their flow chart or tool idea before the press conference on Friday.”
[Image via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]