Monday, May 25, 2009

The For-Profit Health Care Reform Club

America's health care reform players know each other well. They've crisscrossed over the years, spending a dollop of time in various federal administrations. Most of their career has been in for-profit health care roles. A WaPo article mentions three members of the club:

Karen Ignagni-Chief Executive Officer, America's Health Insurance Plans which "controls" the debate on health reform. If private insurers don't win in any public plan, AHIP will bring back Harry & Louise

Chip Kahn-President of Federation of American Hospitals, the for-profit hospital chain lobby. In his prior job Chip was responsible for the Harry & Louise ads. They killed health reform in the 90's

Uwe Reinhardt-Princeton economist who consistently fails to disclose his for-profit health care conflicts of interest. Reinhardt sits on the board of insurer AmeriGroup, which does public-private insurance partnerships with states. It's the kind of program Ignagni wants in any reform bill. Uwe has over 130,000 AmeriGroup stock options. He also serves on the boards of Boston Scientific and Legacy Health Partners. He sat on the board of Triad Hospitals and made $2.3 million from the sale.

But there are more than these three. Add:

Nancy-Ann DeParle-White House Health Czar and former private equity underwriter (PEU) for CCMP Capital Partners. Ms. DeParle sat on the board of nine health care companies, making $530,000 in board compensation in 2008. Her stock holdings are worth . She holds stock options in companies that stand to do well in Obama's reform efforts. As a board member, Nancy-Ann made $1.4 million from the sale of Triad Hospitals. She's currently implementing the President's plans.

Tom Scully-General Partner with PEU Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS). Mr. Scully is a former Medicare/Medicaid Chief under President Bush. He was the architect of a new Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, but fled for big private sector money, prior to Part D implementation. Scully was President of the Federation of American Hospitals prior to Chip Kahn. Tom Sits on the board of numerous WCAS health affiliates including Solantic. In late 2008 Tom Scully had a 135,880 share interest in Universal American, a health insurer.

Rick Scott-CEO of Solantic, an affiliate of WCAS. Scott is the former CEO of Columbia/HCA, a powerhouse in the Federation of American Hospitals under Tom Scully's leadership. Rick's Conservatives for Patients' Rights stands as the Harry & Louise to date in the current health reform debate. Where were patients' rights when Scott's Columbia/HCA fraudulently overbilled them? Scott resigned in disgrace. Later Columbia/HCA paid a $1.7 billion fine. Scott currently answers to Solantic's board, which includes Tom Scully.

Denny Shelton-CEO of Legacy Health Partners, former CEO of Triad Hospitals. The Triad board included Nancy-Ann DeParle and Uwe Reinhardt. Denny tried to sell Triad to CCMP Capital Partners (Nancy-Ann's PEU), but Community Health Systems offered more. Mr. Shelton made over $40 million from the sale of his company. He took a Peter G. Peterson approach to his windfall. Rather than pay more taxes to cover uninsured children, Denny thought he should pay for his Medicare coverage. Denny went on to start Legacy Hospital Partners, which targets nonprofit community hospitals needing joint venture access to capital. He recruited Nancy-Ann DeParle and Uwe Reinhardt for the Legacy board. CCMP Capital Partners lists Legacy as a PEU affiliate.

Gail Wilensky-former Bush 41 Medicare/Medicare chief. Ms. Wilensky recently testified before the Senate Finance Committee on financing health reform. She failed to disclose her conflicts of interest. Gail sat on six for-profit health care boards. She received $1.2 million in 2008 board compensation. Her stock holdings are valued at over $20 million. She has $9 million in UnitedHealth stock from serving on the board of the huge health insurer. That makes it easier to recommend taxing nonprofit community hospitals, currently under financial distress. If Gail gets her wish, safety net hospitals will pay taxes while Rick Scott's CPR and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth remain tax free.

The club wants to tilt the deck in favor of for-profit health care. They have people in place and the right Senate Finance Committee Chair to deliver. Long time Dirty Max Baucus will certainly accommodate health care deform. I'm sure Senator Evan Bayh will do his part.

No comments: