Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Did House Ways & Means Chair Bill Thomas Groom Eric Cantor?

Dear President Bush,

Just as corporate execs know how to lie, cheat and steal to get their incentive bonuses, they know how to game the political system. Leaders at Fannie Mae, the government mandated mortgage company, got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Before the spotlight shone on their malfeasance they shared some of those cookies with elected leaders.

I noted a $10,000 donation by Fannie Mae’s political action committee to a Rep. from my home state of Virginia. Eric Cantor got two $5,000 donations from Fannie Mae for his 2006 campaign. In searching his campaign finance records I found he is deep in the pocket of for profit health care.

Eric got $10,000 from the nursing home association group, $10,000 from the Federation of American Hospitals, and $10,000 from HCA, the for profit hospital company partly owned and historically run by the Frist family. Your previous Medicare Chief, Tom Scully has strong connections to the first two donors. He is the Past President of the FAH and currently represents nursing homes through his employment with the DC lobbying house of Alston & Bird. Ninety percent of Mr. Cantor’s hospitals/nursing home donations come from for profits health care companies, only 10% from the non profit sector.

Mr. Cantor is on the House Ways and Means Committee which makes key decisions on Medicare and Medicaid. As Chairman Bill Thomas is retiring, who will rise up to serve as Chairman? Will they continue the inquisition regarding the unfair tax advantage enjoyed by non profit hospitals vis-à-vis their for profit tax paying counterparts? If $30,000 in 2004 donations got Chairman Bill to parrot the for profit position in an official Congressional hearing, what might $45,000 buy should Mr. Cantor get the chair? Only time will tell….

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