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Conflict Of Interest? Daschle Promotes Co-ops Which Dovetails With Interests Of His Industry Clients


Which clients you ask?  Only the biggest health insurance industry in the entire country, UNITED HEALTH

One of every $700 spent on health care in this country went to pay Mr. Hemsley, CEO of United Health, according to Elizabeth Edwards

UnitedHealth has spent $12.7 MILLION lobbying Congress against the cost of coverage for families, which would have paid for health care coverage for 992 families of four for one year.

Remember: United Health is one of the groups MOST heavily invested against the Public Option.  


it often seems as if Mr. Daschle never left the picture. With unrivaled ties on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, he talks constantly with top White House advisers, many of whom previously worked for him.

He still speaks frequently to the president, who met with him as recently as Friday morning in the Oval Office. And he remains a highly paid policy adviser to hospital, drug, pharmaceutical and other health care industry clients of Alston & Bird, the law and lobbying firm.

Now the White House and Senate Democratic leaders appear to be moving toward a blueprint for overhauling the health system, centered on nonprofit insurance cooperatives, that Mr. Daschle began promoting two months ago as a politically feasible alternative to a more muscular government-run insurance plan.

It is an idea that happens to dovetail with the interests of many Alston & Bird clients, like the insurance giant UnitedHealth and the Tennessee Hospital Association. And it is drawing angry cries of accommodation from more liberal House Democrats bent on including a public insurance plan.

and you really wonder why the Public Option is in danger?  

Daschle is one of Obama's closest allies, at the very start of his senate career since 2004. Do not underestimate Daschle's influence on Obama, his is probably almost as great as Rahm Emanuel's. I don't doubt he is personally invested in Obama's success, as they are great friends. But don't doubt for a minute that Daschle has any idea how to fix healthcare or has progressives' interests in mind. The guy has sold out, and has become one of the sleaziest lobbyists on K Street and remember that was always a Blue Dog while in congress. And he's got the president's ear and unfortunately, trust.

If you haven't, donate toward pressuring Democrats on the Public Option:

We've raised a whopping $374,816 in just TWO DAYS. We're trying to get to $450,000. We're almost there!

Originally posted to lmenshevik on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:04 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Disgraceful (15+ / 0-)

    Anyone who supports this kind of thing does not represent the values of the Democratic Party.

    Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

    by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:07:43 PM PDT

  •  The more I read (11+ / 0-)

    the more I think that Greenwald was absolutely spot on - the Democratic Party Country Club (Washington DC Branch)are playing for the Bluedogs watered down pile of crap.

  •  Let us not forget (11+ / 0-)

    that Daschle was Obama's first choice for HHS Secretary.

  •  Let states that want co-ops have em. Let states (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that want public option have public option.

    Make public option an opt out for states just like we did with stimulus.

    Obama - Talk to Timothy Stoltzfus Jost...he seems to know more than you do.

    by JerichoJ8 on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:12:45 PM PDT

  •  Obama is often compared to LBJ (10+ / 0-)

    when he forced Medicare through a reluctant congress.  LBJ was a legislative master, who became the Senate Majority Leader, elected by his peers, with fewer years than anyone previously.

    He was also best friends with the Speaker of the House, Sam Raburn. W hile Obama actually only spent a single year in the Senate before he was campaigning full time, LBJ controlled that body, more than Daschle and anyone else since.

    So when he decide he wanted something, he could lean on each legislator to make it happen.  Listen to his recorded phone conversations to get a feel of a real operator.

    And LBJ knew the cost of everything he did.  When he pushed through civil rights reform he knew that he was giving up the south for Democrats for a generation (he underestimated the time)  But he felt it was worth it.

    Obama is willing to give a speech, have a few town halls, but then it is compromise time.  But he has lost the passion for what he is trying to sell, if he ever had it.

    We never had the speech such as LBJ gave when he closed with, "and we shall overcome."

  •  I wonder how long it will be before we discover (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, gmb, corvo, khin

    just how deep Obama's ties to the health industry grew during his policy backflip in the last year. We knew about Bush et al's ties to defense and oil corporations long before they entered office, yet we're still learning new things months after they've left.

    "All wars end with talking." - CKendall.

    by haruki on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:15:27 PM PDT

  •  Par for the course (12+ / 0-)

    Daschle was a disgracefully bad Democratic "leader" in the Senate, who caved in to George W. Bush on both the Patriot Act and the Iraq Resolution.

    I wish he'd go away and never come back.

    "Book-burning was by no means a practice confined to the highly educated."--Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:16:18 PM PDT

  •  See my 11D chess theory (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, corvo

    on this here.

    •  so the plan was to sell us out from the start? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Basically, I have two speeds.... Hostile or smart-ass. Your choice."

      by jbou on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:21:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  his concern is with "independents" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if only he would realize that a large chunk of those "independents" are those who left the democratic party for capitulating so much.  and also a large chunk of "independents" are those who dont know what's good for them.


        by lizard people on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:23:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Once again, we gays (8+ / 0-)

        were the mineshaft canaries.

        •  It's a hell of a way to lose votes. (7+ / 0-)

          The disappointed gays won't be at the polls next time.  

          The disappointed health care reform advocates won't show up.

          Those who demanded FISA reform may not be there.

          I know that those who want justice for crimes committed under the previous administration are currently holding out for something resembling justice.

          We haven't even touched energy yet.

          This needs to turn around and go in another direction soon.  I'm a patient woman but if this pays out wrong then I'm no longer on the O man's team.  

          I supported change.  This isn't it.  There is still time to do the right thing.  I hope they get it right.

          By the way, I'm also planning to fight for the gays after this silly health care thing is over.  I never once expected you guys to wait forever for your turn.  It's long overdue.

          Nobody held a wake for America's manufacturing industry, and now we are supposed to give a fuck about these assholes in the insurance business? - Playon

          by blueocean on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:37:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

            •  You think we haven't noticed? (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gmb, NoMoreLies, corvo, vigilant meerkat

              When is the last time you saw a gay issue diary on the rec list?  I've noticed.

              I'm rather upset at the loss of so many of our gay friends here.  I miss them.  I want them back on our team.  I enjoyed their voices.  I enjoyed their personalities.  

              I think it is horrible that so many continue to suffer senseless discrimination in the most important areas of life.

              The diaries I read here made me aware of just how much discrimination is faced by good people who just want the same privileges I take for granted each day.

              Yeah, I'm on your side.  My timing or priority list might not be identical to yours but I want to lift both our boats.  It's not enough to get what I wanted most and leave you guys and gals to continue suffering without change.

              Nobody held a wake for America's manufacturing industry, and now we are supposed to give a fuck about these assholes in the insurance business? - Playon

              by blueocean on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:52:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  yup, per that theory. Mandates are the juicy (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jbou, chuckvw, gmb, NoMoreLies, corvo

        gift the insurance companies want, while not having to contend with serious competition in the form of a Medicare-like plan. With co-ops, they get even more toys to play with to maximize their profits and payoffs (and kill the co-ops when they become non-viable.)

        There is a horrible healthcare racket being run by the health insurance industry (as in pocketing 30% of the healthcare dollar, and in 80% inflation in premiums since 2001, rescission, etc), and because of mandates, unless there is a Medicare-like public plan, the insurance companies can and will milk even more out of the system, giving increasingly poor service to the people being bilked out of their hard earned money.

  •  Now come on. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, MrJayTee

    Daschle has made great heaping prodigious mounds of money in the health care reform business.  He must know something about it.

    Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

    by bugscuffle on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:21:44 PM PDT

  •  co-ops charge rates comparable (5+ / 0-)

    to insurance companies.  If the government gives money to co-ops, which might offer some competition to insurance companies, what's a person supposed to do who doesn't live near one?  Wait for a Uk bicycle to visit them?  

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:25:20 PM PDT

    •  A woman from Choice Healthcare in Seattle (6+ / 0-)

      said on CNN that co-ops that work like insurance companies are not going to work.  The Choice Healthcare works because they own their own clinics (like Kaiser).  Since that won't work across the US, she was pretty clear that co-ops are not a national solution.

      She said that regional co-ops would have to be formed.  If we are going to form regional co-ops, why not just form a national publicly funded agency (oh, wait, this is the public option)?

      "In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly." ---- Coleridge

      by captainlaser on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:32:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  evict Daschle from the debate (8+ / 0-)

    Who are these people that are debating health care on our behalf?  Lobbyists,  corporate thugs, get them off the stage please.  Tomorrow morning, David Gregory, host of Meet the Press will be interviewing Joe Scarborough about health care.  JOE SCARBOROUGH??  What does he have to do with anything?  At all?  The week before, he had Daschle, Coburn and Armey--the three special interest musketeers.  

    Wipe these clowns from the airwaves and bring in people who aren't in someone's pocket.  

    Americans deserve a real debate.  Not a debate sponsored by the insurance monopoly.

  •  Co-ops will not get me to the polls in 2012. (7+ / 0-)

    Take it to the bank and try to cash it.  I guarantee it will bounce.

    Nobody held a wake for America's manufacturing industry, and now we are supposed to give a fuck about these assholes in the insurance business? - Playon

    by blueocean on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:26:04 PM PDT

  •  Greenwald has a good piece on Daschle... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, LordMike, corvo, MrJayTee, lizard people

    and his wife from a few months ago.  Daschle's relationship with Obama is disturbing, to say the least.

    [Daschle] embodies everything that is sleazy, sickly, and soul-less about Washington.  .... Daschle oozes Beltway slime from every pore.

    y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto

    by gatorbot on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:30:47 PM PDT

  •  Aside from Public Option, what is actually in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama HCR plan? After reading and listening to everything I could this week, I have no idea what is actually being proposed, if anything.

    How I wish someone would step up and actually spell out what is on the table here.

    •  Read the bill. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, NoMoreLies, lizard people

      There is prohibition against recission.  There are caps to annual fees.  There is a commission which would regulate rates (based on loss ratios).  

      But unfortunately, a lot of this is just tinkering with a broken system.  Without an alternative to cheaply involve another 40 million people in healthcare, the bill will just be a boondoggle for the healthcare industry.

      "In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly." ---- Coleridge

      by captainlaser on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:34:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, soms

        The Exchanges are where the consumers push the prices down against the Healthcare Industry.  The way the public option is structured now, you would get very marginal rate changes.  It wouldn't be that different.  

      •  Yeah yeah, read the bill. Which one are you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmb, corvo

        talking about? Which committee's, what changes are being made, other than public option by the 6? What exactly are people fighting for and against. What parts of it are both house and senate supported.

        I have heard numerous takes on this, and most say that it appears to be another give away to the Corporate execs, minus the public option that is.

        It seems like the recission prohibition is a common theme, but are there different approaches to this? How much latitude do the insurance companies get with this?

        Also, and I am not saying this in a snide way. If you say something like

        READ THE BILL, then supply a link to what you want me to read.

        •  It's not a "giveaway" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If getting people health insurance and insuring people at a low rate (or if you're really poor, at no rate due to subsidies) is some sort of "bailout" then folks aren't paying attention.

          A "bailout" is when taxpayers give money to an industry with no chance of getting anything in return.  Here, we're getting insurance and our moral plank of insuring every American has insurance is finally met.  

          •  If the government is paying large sums of money (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slinkerwink, NoMoreLies

            to insurance companies just for them to pick up people they don't want, I see that as a taxpayer giveaway. It seems like subsidy to a for profit organization to me. I would rather see the government force the corporations to take these people at lower rates, or provide the service itself.

            •  That's the idea (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Do you have any idea what's in the reforms?  Honestly, good God man.  There is a cap on payments, where folks don't have to pay above a certain amount above pocket, I mean preventing from ANYONE from going broke on health insurance is a pretty big thing.  

              •  A cap on individual payments, how much money (0+ / 0-)

                do you think the government will be paying to the insurance executives to make up the difference?

                Good god, man? Whatever, thanks for your input

                •  Doesn't matter (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  At this point, we're helping folks from going poor and bankrupt, I can't see how you could argue that's a bad thing.

                  •  If my choices are these: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    A: Government just gives billions of dollars to insurance companies to cover everybody and gets screwed by them. Meaning waste, fraud, and abuse that comes with most of these enterprises (See Military Industrial Complex)

                    B: Government provides a public alternative that is reasonable and does not take  money away from Schools, bridge building, clean energy initiatives, etc... unnecessarily.

                    I think A is a bad choice and would vote against it.

                    •  How about? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      A:  Government insures 47 million americans have healthcare (regardless of those ramifications).

                      B:  Status quo.  

                      Here's what it's going to come down to (assuming there's no public option).  You're either insuring that 47 million americans will finally have health insurance completing a moral plank we've been fighting for, for SEVENTY YEARS or you refuse to provide money to the health insurance industry.  That's really all it is.  

      •  Obama hasn't endorsed (0+ / 0-)

        HR 3200 or the Senate HELP committee bills.  So we really don't know which details he really supports.

        11D chess, you know.  

        Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff - Sen. Sherrod Brown

        by Betty Pinson on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 07:47:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  if a kossack like you dont know whats in the bill (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      then i really fear for the country.  obama has not made the case, one reason being that the bill is not finished. the other being that he's not making the case for what really is in the bill already. and as krugman described, he sounds like a dry technocrat instead of the persuasive dude we thought we elected who could make the best argument for reform.


      by lizard people on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:38:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Look, it's not that I have no idea, I have read (0+ / 0-)

        about or heard everything in LennyToothpick's list, it is just that the Bill is no where near final or even ready for a vote. I was wondering what exactly are the points that will most probably go through (meaning they have lots of support), and which ones are being fought over---aside from public option.

    •  there are many things being considered (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995, gmb
      1. consumer protections: including no discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps
      1. expansion of medicaid
      1. subsidies to help people buy health insurance if they don't get it through their employer
      1. individual mandate, requiring individuals have health insurance (to buy it if they don't already get it)
      1. the creation of an "exchange" that would poor individuals and small businesses so that they could buy health insurance more cheaply than they would if they were on the individual market
      1. a publicly-run health insurance program as one option in the exchange (alternatively co-ops)

      funding: various options

      1. employer mandate: requires businesses either give their employees insurance or, if not, would require that they pay taxes to help with the subsidies
      1. making medicare / medicaid more efficient
      1. various taxes on the upper 1%, taxing very generous health insurance packages, and/or taxing health insurance companies

      there's more but these are most the ideas being thrown around.

      •  Thank you, I have heard or read about everything (0+ / 0-)

        on this list, but I am not sure who is for or against these things, and do they look different on the different committees versions?

        Some of these things would be good, even without a public option. I was wondering if it is a good idea to split this into two parts: health care reform, and health insurance reform. I mean it seems that if coops are the option, then I would rather not have anything at all in this bill. However, it is important to stop the recission thing. Maybe it should be split up.

        •  from what i understand (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ranger995, gmb, NoMoreLies

          there is disagreement about:

          1. public option or co-ops (the House committees and the Senate HELP committee have all passed bills with a PO, the Finance committee will most likely pass a bill with co-ops)
          1. how generous the subsidies are (the House bills are most generous, the senate bills are less generous)
          1. employer mandate (the House bills includes one, and the HELP bill does to, IIRC, the Finance committee might abandon it)
          1. individual mandate (will be more controversial if there is no public option)
          1. how much the bill should cost: the CW is that the bill will be under $1 trillion over 10 years; the Finance committee wants to scale down the subsidies to make it cost less
          1. there is a lot of disagreement over how to pay for it; IIRC, the house bill increases taxes on the most wealthy americans; the Finance committee wants to tax the most pricey healthcare plans

          this is a very rough sketch, but i think that covers most of it

    •  oh my...just on the top of my head (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, soms

      (im on dial up so takes forever to get links)

      1. Regulations so you cannot be denied for a pre existing condition
      1. Small business and the self employed will get tax credits to help them get health care-this is where i think coops can be done, if done as a national coop..put them in a group together in the insurance exchange and you will have huge leverage over costs
      1. No more lifetime caps, if you have a devastating medical need, they cannot say "oops sorry, you spent your lifetime amount, we won't cover"
      1. Subsidies for those who are 8 x the national poverty limit so they can get health care.

      those are just 4, but read the transcript of any of Obama's town halls this week and there are more.

      "I know we will have differences. Put them aside. It is so easy to focus on where we don't agree and to lose the big picture. Fight until we win" -Kwickkick

      by vc2 on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 07:04:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Daschle: Reconciliation may be the only way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, LordMike, soms

    There's a bit of conflicting messages out about this.

  •  He's not a lobbyist, he's a "resourcist" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This line jumped out the most:

    "I’d like to be a resource to my former colleagues, to the extent that I can, to the administration, to the stakeholders and to people interested in just kind of knowing how this is all going to play out," he said. "I am most comfortable with the word resource."

    2 things:

    1st, what an a-hole. No doubt most lobbyists would be "most comfortable with the word resource." What charlatan wouldn't?

    2nd: Who the fuck is Daschle to tell anyone "how this is all going to play out?" Last I checked, he was the 1st Senate party leader to be voted out of office since 1952. How did that play out?

    The more ominous implication would of course be that the fix is in, he knows it, and the filling  is just smoke, mirrors, and kabuki..

    •  Daschle knows plenty (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Betty Pinson

      about giving republicans what they want. He never worried about costs when it came to paying for tax cuts for rich or an unnecessary war.

      Daschle picks up a paycheck from United Health. The reason the industry pays him the big bucks is to make sure Daschle bends arms their way.

  •  Daschle Smaschle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Screw him.

    Let's put the screws to the remaining Dem Senators and pass this thing once and for all. We're closer than we've ever been. Just do it!

  •  Are they *his* clients? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, soms

    Does he advise them in any way, or does he just happen to work at a firm where others represent them?

  •  Thank you for diarying about this! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    bookmarked for future reference.

    I'm on Twitter. I'm also a part of the FDL team on health reform.

    by slinkerwink on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 07:54:32 PM PDT

  •  Let's REC THIS! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm on Twitter. I'm also a part of the FDL team on health reform.

    by slinkerwink on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 07:58:12 PM PDT

  •  Daschle and United Health (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am quitting United Health as soon as health care reforms go through.  I hate their duplicitous treatment: pretending to be at the table, while buying politicians who can be bought.  And I consider it a Godsend that Daschle did not get into the position that the decent person Kathleen Sebelius holds.

    Daschle is a bought man.  He wants to be a good man, but a good man is a good man, he does not have to try to look like one.

    Tom Daschle is basically Bob Dole.  They are bought by $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    by lobbyists from United Health and the rest of the insurance industry who want to treat their consumers badly and make a huge, massive profit.

    In some sense, in the pictures I have seen of Barack, he has the look of his face that he has when he understands someone has turned bad in the picture of him and Daschle.  I think he sees all the way through to the corruption.

  •  Public Option VS. Personal Option (0+ / 0-)

    The only thing that we can do now is to wait and see how it all ends.

    Each of the five members of my family devoted an average of 12 hours per week making phone calls or knocking on the doors for Obama, from September to November 5, 2008. We also denoted our scarce funds to help Obama and other democrats.

    If and when Daschle and Obama decide to dash our hopes for a few pesos, we will end all PUBLIC or CIVIC engagements; the health insurance industry should then do the field work for the democrats from now till the end of America. This will be the last time for these people to fool around with our hopes and dreams if they fail to respect our wishes and desires and their promise.

  •  Someone needs to stop the bleeding. (0+ / 0-)

    This is getting ridiculous.  Why is it so hard to enact something that the majority of Americans clearly support?

    Oh, right.  Money and self-interest.  I keep forgetting.

  •  UnitedHealth is POND SCUM! nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Daschle always has been and always will be a (0+ / 0-)

    paid pimp.

    The man sold his sole a long time ago. Just because someone wears the D for political party does not always mean that they are your friend.

    We still have far too many like him in the Democratic Party.

    Are we a nation of laws or not? If not who would you torture today?

    by eaglecries on Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 09:43:13 PM PDT

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