Friday, July 15, 2011

Denny's San Angelo Health Reform Wish to Come True?

Denny Shelton once headed Triad Hospitals, the owner of San Angelo Community Medical Center.  He inked a deal with Shannon in fall 2006, that quickly fell through.  A year later he spoke on the future of healthcare at ASU.  Fresh from a $42 million profit on the sale of Triad, Denny wasn't willing to pay more in taxes to cover the uninsured.  However, he was willing to pay for his Medicare benefit.

Denny's words may come to pass, according to the AP. 

President Obama said he was ready to make tough decisions such as restructuring Medicare so that very wealthy recipients would have to pay slightly more.

Tough decision?  Hardly, at least one "very wealthy recipient" long ago indicated his willingness to pay for his government provided health insurance.  This recipient has the means to be heard.

Denny's direct line to the White House comes via Nancy-Ann DeParle, recently promoted from Health Czar to Obama's Deputy Chief of Staff.  DeParle made over $1 million on the Triad's sale.  She received stock from her board service.  Denny later worked for CCMP Managing Director DeParle.

DeParle's initial financial disclosure showed ties to numerous for-profit health care companies, publicly traded and private.  No updated forms have been made public.  Rest assured, Obama's health reformer is very wealthy.  Her having to pay slightly more for Medicare when she hits 65 isn't the least bit comforting. 
How long will it take for her Medicare increase to total her tax break on carried interest?  How long before Denny's premium share totals his Bush capital gains tax break of $1.5 million on his Triad proceeds? 

Denny's fortunes keep growing given his interim CEO appointment for OmniCare.  If he's paid at the same rate as the retiring chief executive, Denny will garner nearly $6 million for five months work. How will his political ties help OmniCare resolve its ethical problems?

The company agreed to pay $98 million to settle a Justice Department lawsuit alleging the firm paid kickbacks to nursing homes and received money for buying and making recommendations on certain drugs.

Little is said in public circles about health reform benefiting for-profiteers, many of them willing to bend the rules to meet profit targets.  In private circles, investors talk about the sweet table DeParle laid for them.. 

Making the "very wealthy" pay "slightly more" is a small, easy bone to throw into the ring.  If this is hard for President Obama, that's not saying much.

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