Monday, September 04, 2006

Ex Medicare Chiefs: Will Mark Follow Tom on the Gravy Train?

The Dallas Morning News reported Dr. Mark McClellan, Medicare and Medicaid Chief, will resign. A HHS spokesperson had no comment on the purported resignation.

Just as the new Medicare Prescription Program became law, Mark’s predecessor stepped down. Tom Scully parlayed his influence into a high dollar lobbying job with Alston & Bird and a senior advisor position with the investment house Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe. Tom later became a full fledged board member for WCAS and serves as a director for many of its health care affiliates.

The Dallas Morning News' reason for Mark’s retirement sounds eerily familiar, “Stepping down will allow him to spend more time with his wife and young twin daughters, though he will probably pursue work in academia or the private sector.”

Tom citing reasons for his resignation spoke of his desire to spend time with family. Scully said “It was an overwhelming vote from my family not to let me stay.” Funny he didn’t take much time off. His resignation became effective on December 15, 2003 and the news four days later highlighted Tom’s new position with Alston & Bird.

As for future employment, Mark’s options are wide open. Lobbying houses, for profit health care chains, health insurance companies, even investment houses all would want someone with his connections and influence. What’s the market like for people with Dr. McClellan’s background and connections? Has it changed from 3 years ago when the competition for Mr. Scully’s services was described as “bidding war by law firms and equity investment concerns”?

HCA just filled their head quality doctor position with the gentleman noted for leading dramatic improvements in the VA health care system. But my guess is they could fit Dr. McClellan in somewhere.

The Carlyle Group has a rapidly growing health care segment. If he took that job he would be even closer to the Oval Office with Carlyle’s Pennsylvania Avenue address.

With degrees in medicine and economics from Harvard and MIT, Dr. McClellan is obviously an intelligent man. Maybe he’ll get to use that elsewhere. It’s obvious the President’s economic team didn’t spend much time with Mark in creating their Economic Drivers of Health Care Costs report.

As for his job search, he might want to learn from Tom not to combine official government travel with job search visits. Just two months ago Mr. Scully agreed to reimburse the federal government $10,000 for this very reason. This came after a federal investigation on his controversial job search.

Besides staying clean in the search, Mark needs to be thinking about what to highlight on his resume. I know he won’t be interviewing with any poor people, but did he ever resolve his concern about the new Medicare Prescription Drug program, cranked up on his watch?

DR. McCLELLAN: Well, we are particularly concerned about low-income beneficiaries finding out about the extra help that they can get. The Medicare drug coverage has no premium and will pay typically 95 percent of their drug cost.

Did they ever get that fixed? Can Mark put that on his resume? My guess is his future employers could care less and with market forces at work, Dr. McClellan will be anything but poor.

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