Nancy-Ann DeParle: Obama & the Industry’s Health Care Czar

Obama’s “public option” for federal involvement in ensuring health care coverage will be jettisoned soon.  Rham Emmanuel said as much yesterday:

It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday.

The President’s disregard for the touted option was already apparent the day before, when he asked supporters from independent progressive groups to lay off criticisms of Senate Democrats like Diane Feinstein, who are adamantly pro-healthcare business.  The position on a ‘public option’ was a posture that some progressive Democrats chose to interpret as a stalking horse for national health insurance.   That was always a fantasy.  Obama initially wanted Tom Daschel for health care czar.  Daschel’s plan has the same failures as Obama’s: it is a market driven compromise that locks in explosive costs and leaves millions without health insurance:

The fundamentals of his proposal are essentially the same as those proposed by Barack Obama, Max Baucus, and most of the other Democrats who have been advocating for reform.  He would continue employer-sponsored coverage, expand public programs, and provide an FEHBP-type program, including a Medicare-like option.  He would attempt to achieve universal coverage through an individual mandate with financial assistance for lower-income individuals…

Most troubling is Sen. Daschle’s conclusions on single payer. He describes it as the model used by the “world’s highest-ranking health care systems.” He acknowledges, without dispute, that supporters say that it is “brilliantly simple, ensures equity by providing all people with the same benefits, and saves billions of dollars by creating economies of scale and streamlining administration.” Yet he rejects it merely because it is “politically problematic.” He would sacrifice the “ideal” system because he is “not willing to sacrifice worthy improvements on the altar of perfection.”

-“Comment” on ‘Sen. Daschle’s “Critical”‘
By Don McCanne, MD
Physicians For A National Healthcare Plan

As with the Clinton health care plan if 1993, Obama is plainly hoping to win industry to a quango, a public-private partnership.   Obama would leave his progressive supporters in the political wilderness, if they will not support his unworkable proposal. Health Care Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle is the appropriate point person for that goal, if nothing else.

Posters on DailyKOS, implicitly criticize Obama for undermining “public option” advocates while the health care industry spends $1.4 Million per day lobbying for industry.   The President’s action by itself might reflect the Liberal love of compromise, but the appointment of DeParle indicates that the goal has only been the most limited kind of health care reform

At any rate, DeParle has earned more than $2 Million from DaVita, Inc., a company that aggressively pursues market position even at the cost of affordable dialysis for patients.

DeParle is a partisan of the current health-care industry.  She managed Medicare during the Clinton administration, then entered the health care industry, where she worked with such firms as DaVita Inc, Boston Scientific Corp, and Guidant.  The Colorado Springs Gazette recently reported that DaVita has sued small dialysis providers for conspiring to deny the company business.

In recent years, the Fortune 500 company – one of the country’s largest dialysis providers – has filed at least six suits in five states against physicians and competing dialysis centers that pose a threat to its profits, according to court documents examined by The Gazette. In those suits the publicly traded company or its subsidiaries have alleged a list of wrongdoings, from breaching contracts and ignoring noncompete arrangements to slander.

In each one, the company contends physicians and its competitors have secretly conspired to harm its business. The doctors say DaVita is waging a legal war to crush its competition.

“A David vs. Goliath battle emerges in the fight for dialysis dollars”.

by Brian Newsom, Colorado Springs Gazette, June 26, 2009 – 9:54 PM.

More generally, a recent investigation by Fred Schulte for the Investigative Report workshop foud that DeParle directed health care corporations which have engaged in denial of service and tardy notifications of violation of federal health care standards.

In touting DeParle’s accomplishments when he appointed her in March, Obama didn’t mention the lucrative private-sector career she built since September 2000, when she left her government job running Medicare for the Clinton administration. Records show she earned more than $6.6 million since early 2001, according to a tally by the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

And the public wasn’t told that much of that corporate career was built at companies that have frequently had to defend themselves against federal investigations. After leaving government, DeParle accepted director positions at half a dozen companies suspected of violating the very laws and regulations she had enforced for Medicare. Those companies got into further trouble on her watch as a director. Now she’s back in government as a leading voice in deciding the shape of health care reform. As director of the White House Office of Health Reform, DeParle is the point person in pushing for the administration’s plans for changing health care and the ways Americans pay for it — changes in whichher former companies have a great deal at stake.



Posted on July 6, 2009, in Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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