Friday, March 13, 2009

Sticky Fingered Politicians Tackle Health Care

Health care reform is on the way. It's brought to you by the same Congress that ensured peanut butter safety, so boil everything. Any bills face the Senate Finance and the House Ways & Means Committees. For-profit hospital firms know this fact well. PAC donations show:

HCA (owned by KKR, a private equity firm) gave $142,750 to House members and $122,800 to Senators in the last election cycle. Donations to key committee leaders included:

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) $10,000
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) $9,000

HCA has no hospitals in New York or Iowa. There are no constituents to represent, just corporate interests.

Triad Hospitals (purchased by Community Health Systems, another for-profit chain. CCMP Capital partners had a signed deal, but was outbid by CHS). Their PAC donated $79,000 to the House and $72,651 to the Senate. Donations to keep committee or chamber leaders included:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) $5,000
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) $5,000
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) $10,000
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) $5,000
Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA) $5,000

Triad's 2007 annual report showed no hospitals in Montana, Iowa, New York. They did have facilities in Nevada and Louisiana.

The new White House appointed a Bush worthy health care reformer, given her deep industry ties. Nancy-Ann DeParle worked as Senior Adviser for CCMP Capital Partners, a private equity underwriter. She bought and sold for-profit health care companies. While serving on Triad's board of directors. Ms. Deparle made $1.4 million from the sale of Triad.

The relationship did not end there. Former Triad Hospitals CEO Denny Shelton advised Ms. DeParle on health care acquisitions. She sits on the Legacy Health Systems board, where Shelton is CEO. Do corporate representatives have greater access than struggling citizens or safety net caregivers? Maybe so.

No comments: