United Health Systems launches $1.5B health care investment plan

UNITED HEALTH SYSTEMS is the latest high-tech health-care company to announce it will invest at least $1 billion to expand its health-services footprint.

The company will announce the news Thursday in New York City, the company said in a statement.

United Health is a private company that was founded in 1999 by billionaire investor Peter Lynch and former IBM executive David Einhorn.

UnitedHealth is based in Dallas and has operations in Texas, Florida and California.

United Healthcare plans to spend $600 million in capital and other assets to expand operations across the United States, United Health CEO and president David Gershman said in the statement.

The UnitedHealth investment will be focused on expanding its network of more than 600 health-related businesses.

United will also spend $300 million to buy additional medical devices, UnitedHealth CEO and chief financial officer Stephen J. Krasner said in an interview.

United plans to use its existing investments to expand the healthcare delivery system and improve the quality of care, he said.

The U.S. health care system is in dire straits.

The national health-cost index, which is the percentage of Americans who live in poverty, is about 50 percent higher than it was in 2000, according to a recent study by the University of Michigan’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

United has about 3.4 million members, and UnitedHealth operates about 10 million private health-insurance plans.

The stock is up nearly 12 percent since Lynch bought the company in 1999, when it had a market value of $8.9 billion.

Lynch is also chairman and CEO of the New York Jets football team.

The New York Times first reported UnitedHealth’s plan to spend at least that much.