Friday, January 03, 2014

As 2014 sees Obamacare ramp up,another tip of the crony hat to its "architect" is in order

Of course no one person wrote the bill,it took a small village of cronies to put it together being as careful as they could to make sure that the health insurers were among  the beneficiaries as well as a few other crony beneficiaries.

A health care "reform" bill was constructed that forced large numbers of the uninsured to buy health insurance and included safeguards ( particularly Section 1341 and section 1342) for the insurance industry to minimize losses should the overall strategy ( to get 40% of the newly enrolled to be young and healthy) not work out as projected.

The statute was crafted by the senate finance committee lead by Max Baucus. According to Baucus much credit should be given to one of his staffers,Liz Fowler. Quoting Mr. Baucus;

"“I wish to single out one person, and that one person is sitting next to me. Her name is Liz Fowler. Liz Fowler is my chief health counsel. Liz Fowler has put my health care team together. Liz Fowler worked for me many years ago, left for the private sector, and then came back when she realized she could be there at the creation of health care reform because she wanted that to be, in a certain sense, her profession lifetime goal."

From 2001 to 2005 Ms.Fowler was Baucus's top health care adviser.She left in 2006 to become Vice President of the nation's largest health care insurer  (Well Point) and returned to play a major role in crafting Obamacare in 2008.That's right, an executive at the nation's largest health care insurer helped write the bill that forced folks to purchase the product that company sold. But it gets even better. She was then hired by the Obama administration to help implement the bill and subsequently left to become a vice president at a pharmaceutical company about which Glen Greenwald ( see here) said the following:

"The pharmaceutical giant that just hired Fowler actively supported the passage of Obamacare through its membership in the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobby. Indeed, PhRMA was one of the most aggressive supporters - and most lavish beneficiaries - of the health care bill drafted by Fowler. Mother Jones' James Ridgeway proclaimed "Big Pharma" the "big winner" in the health care bill. And now, Fowler will receive ample rewards from that same industry as she peddles her influence in government and exploits her experience with its inner workings to work on that industry's behalf, all of which has been made perfectly legal by the same insular, Versailles-like Washington culture that so lavishly benefits from all of this."

Also of interest is she is now also a member of the Institute of Medicine.See here. The IOM is touted as being a disinterested organization of health care experts who will recommend what is right for the health of the nation and its citizens and whose members are not driven by any special interests.

Of course, none of this is a state secret.Many have written about it including Bil Moyers,Mother Jones, the Huffington Post to name a few.

And yet what do we hear from the physician's organizations, particularly the AMA and the American college of Physicians? Why do not they speak out denouncing this massive pork barrel project.? I cannot accept ignorance or naivete as credible explanations.these organizations have their people in Washington who know what is going on.Surely AMA and ACP do not sponsor, condone or take part in crony capitalism.

Even the Daily Kos,which is very pro Democratic Party,says in headlines " Thank you Max Baucus and Liz Fowler for turning the AHC into a Rube Goldberg machine".. (see here.) while ACP continues its defense of the legislation.

Even recently one of their blogs defended  Obamacare as providing affordable insurance coverage to "nearly  all Americans" and of course, furthering  social justice. Apparently " nearly all" means all but 31 million, not counting those who recently lost their insurance.  Social justice typically means redistribution to benefit the most disadvantaged.Yes, some of that occurs with AHC as some folks do gain an insurance card (but not necessarily medical care)but it is hard not to realize how much redistribution might occur from the taxpayers to the insurance companies and Big Pharma. These increasingly lame defenses of Obamacare is getting embarrassing.

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