Should House Progressives have Press Conference De-ligitimizing Baucus/Wellpoint Bill?
by TarHeel, Sun Sep 13, 2009 at 06:03:29 AM EDT
A current Vice President for Wellpoint was Baucus' Chief of Staff last year. Baucus' Chief of Staff last year is a Wellpoint lobbyist this year. Enzi's former chief of staff is a wellpoint lobbyist.
The PDF of Baucus' outline showed Liz Fowler, a Vice President for Wellpoint last year as its creator.
Should the progressive caucus in the house force media coverage of Baucus' Bill as being illegitimate? I think they should have a press conference calling the Baucus Bill Caviar for Insurance companies and a crap sandwich for Americans.... Even today Di-Fi (Dianne Feinstein) on CNN emphasized how important the finance committee bill is for the final law that will be signed.
Still more evidence that Wellpoint wrote the Baucus plan: the insurance company's lobbying efforts in DC are headed up by Senator Mike Enzi's former chief health adviser at Senate HELP, Stephen Northrup. Enzi is a member of Baucus's so-called "Gang of Six" shaping the bipartisan compromise bill.
In fact, key provisions in the Baucus plan apparently draw on industry-inspired legislation first introduced by Enzi in 2006, while Northrup was still his chief health aide.
When Industry VPs Write Laws
Max Baucus' plan had the name of Liz Fowler, a former WellPoint VP who now works for the Finance Committee, in the metadata. When you have WellPoint personnel instrumental in writing the laws, you get little provisions like this:
A June 10 meeting between aides to Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and health-care lobbyists included two former Baucus chiefs of staff: David Castagnetti, whose clients include PhRMA and America's Health Insurance Plans, and Jeffrey A. Forbes, who represents PhRMA, Amgen, Genentech, Merck and others. Castagnetti did not return a telephone call; Forbes declined to comment.
If I were a congressperson who did not want the final bill to look like the finance committee bill I'd have a press conference using words like "lobbyist written", "not change we can believe in", "crap sandwich", "insurance wet dream" etc... to get some traction.