Heavy Health Industry Presence In Baucus Schedule

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Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus is one of only five United States senators posting a daily schedule on their official web site. (See Baucus’ schedule here.) Baucus’ schedule lists numerous meetings with health care industry executives, lobbyists and union officials with a stake in the health care reform debate. The schedule shows meetings with health industry groups make up the plurality of the senator’s listed meetings that relate to health care, sharply ahead of pro-reform non-profits and labor organizations. Health industry groups were involved in 20 of the 55 meetings Baucus lists that relate to health reform discussions involving individuals or organizations outside of Congress. This is compared to 12 for pro-reform and labor organizations.

The list of attendees at meetings in Baucus’ office reads like a who’s who of the health care heavy hitters. Among those attending meetings with the senator were PhRMA President & CEO Billy Tauzin, Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer, Aetna CEO Ron Williams, Wellpoint CEO Angela Braly, Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler, Abbott Laboratories Chairman & CEO Miles White, AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan, GlaxoKlineSmith CEO Andrew Witty and Blue Cross Blue Shield President & CEO Scott Serota. These executives represent key industry groups that are opposed to many provisions in the currently offered health reform bills in Congress.

Contributions to Baucus from attending organizations (2003-2008)
Amgen $70,750
Blue Cross Blue Shield $62,350
Aetna $53,250
Pfizer $47,100
AstraZeneca $37,300
Abbott Laboratories $34,000
GlaxoKlineSmith $29,500
US Oncology $14,750
Wellpoint $11,250
SEIU $10,000
AFL-CIO $5,000
HCA $1,000

The organizations run by the attendees are also large contributors to the Max Baucus’ reelection campaigns. All of the above mentioned organizations contributed at least $10,000 to Baucus’ last run for reelection in 2008. Leading the pack is Amgen, having contributed $70,750 to Baucus’ 2008 campaign. Close behind is Blue Cross Blue Shield with $62,350 in campaign contributions to the senator’s campaign. Blue Cross Blue Shield President & CEO Scott Serota and Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer were the only health industry executives to receive more than one meeting with the senator.

Some of these organizations currently employ former Baucus staffers as lobbyists. David Castagnetti, formerly Baucus’ chief of staff, lobbies on behalf of Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, General Electric Health Care, and PhRMA; Scott Olsen lobbies for Amgen, as does another former chief of staff, Jeff Forbes; Forbes also lobbies for PhRMA. There are no meetings disclosed in Baucus’ schedule that include any of his former staffers turned lobbyists. The connections these former staffers have with Baucus’ office may have aided in getting the corporate executives into the door.

Baucus also held a number of meetings, albeit fewer than with corporate interests, with labor organizations and non-profits supportive of reform efforts. These organizations include the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Kaiser Family Foundation, Families USA and Doctors for America. Unlike the corporate attendees to Baucus’ meetings these organizations did not provide substantial campaign contributions to the senator’s campaigns. The two labor organizations, AFL-CIO and SEIU, combined to contribute only $15,000 to Baucus’ 2008 campaign war chest.

Sen. Baucus began posting his daily schedule in September 2007. None of this information would be available if Sen. Baucus had not made the decision to make his schedule available to the public, a personally brave decision in favor of greater transparency. While it took the pressure of a lawsuit to get the White House to release their health care visitor logs, Sen. Baucus’ has made the decision to run his office in a transparent manner. If only all congressional offices provided this level of transparency. While this schedule is in no way official or authoritative, and may not include meetings that Sen. Baucus does not wish to reveal, it provides a unique view into the meetings of one of the most influential members of Congress involved in the debate over health care.

Date Time
07/14/09 2:30pm Meeting With Jack McMahon, Medical Director of the Mountain Pacific Health Foundation
07/06/09 5:00pm Meeting with Andy Stern, President of SEIU
06/24/09 3:00pm Meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Andy Stern (SEIU) and Dennis Rivera (SEIU)
06/17/09 6:30pm Speak at the American Medical Group Association’s Annual Reception
06/16/09 6:30pm Meeting with Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle
06/04/09 3:00pm Meeting with Healthcare Stakeholder Groups
06/03/09 11:15am Meeting with Single Payer Advocates and Senator Bernie Sanders
6:30pm Speak to ISI’s Health Policy Conference
06/02/09 4:30pm Meeting with Billy Tauzin (PhRMA), Jeff Kindler (Pfizer), Kevin Sharer (Amgen), and Miles White (Abbott)
6:30pm Meeting with Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle
05/21/09 8:00am Speak at a Health Care Reform Newsmakers Breakfast hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Families USA, and the National Federation of Independent Business
05/19/09 6:00pm Meeting with the Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle
05/18/09 2:00pm Meeting with Tom Donohue (Chamber of Commerce)
05/13/09 11:30am Meeting with Healthcare Stakeholder Groups
05/12/09 6:00pm Call with the Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle
6:30pm Meeting with Andy Stern (SEIU)
05/07/09 8:00am Speak at a breakfast policy forum hosted by The Hill and AstraZeneca
4:30pm Meeting with David Brennan (CEO, AstraZeneca)
05/06/09 5:30pm Meeting with Physicians
6:00pm Attend General Electric Reception regarding their new health care initiative
05/05/09 4:30pm Videoconference with The Business Council’s Spring Meeting on health care reform
05/04/09 11:30am Press conference call with Doctors for America
04/30/09 11:45am Meeting with Dr. John Bax
2:45pm Meeting with Healthcare Stakeholder Groups
04/28/09 12:30pm Meeting with Angela Braly (CEO, Wellpoint)
6:15pm Meeting with members of the Montana Healthcare Association
04/24/09 3:00pm Conference call with the Montana Healthcare Reform Advisory Council
04/21/09 5:30pm Call with the National Governors Association’s Health Care Task Force
04/20/09 11:30am Meeting with Andy Stern (SEIU)
5:45pm Meeting with Kevin Sharer (CEO, Amgen)
04/07/09 2:00pm Community Health Forum at St. James Hospital (Butte, MT)
03/31/09 2:30pm Meeting with Ron Williams (CEO, Aetna)
3:45pm Meeting with Don Hamm (President & CEO, Assurant Health)
03/26/09 2:45pm Meeting with members of the Montana Primary Care Association
03/24/09 11:45am Meeting with John Sweeney (AFL-CIO)
03/19/09 2:30pm Meeting with Healthcare Stakeholder Groups
03/12/08 3:00pm Meeting with Dr. Georges Benjamin (Executive Director, American Public Health Association)
03/11/08 2:45pm Meeting with Bruce Broussard (CEO & Director, US Oncology)
4:30pm Meeting with White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle
7:00pm Speak to the Board of Directors of the National Business Group on Health
03/10/08 12:00pm Meeting with Drew Altman (President & CEO, Kaiser Family Foundation)
03/09/08 3:45pm Meeting with Dr. Cindy Markus
03/05/09 12:30pm White House Forum on Health Reform
03/03/09 8:00am Speak at a Health Care Reform Newsmakers Breakfast hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Families USA, and the National Federation of Independent Business
11:45am Meeting with Scott Serota (President & CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield)
03/02/09 3:30pm Meeting with Jack Bovender (Chairman, HCA)
02/26/09 3:00pm Meeting with Healthcare Stakeholder Groups
02/13/09 11:00am Meeting with Alan Rosenbloom (President, Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care)
02/12/09 11:45am Meeting with Andrew Witty (CEO, GlaxoKlineSmith)
5:30pm Meeting with John Hammergren (President & CEO, McKesson Corporation)
02/09/09 5:30pm Meeting with Andy Stern, Bill Novelli, Dan Danner, and John Castellani
02/03/09 9:00am Speak at the 2009 National Health Policy Conference
02/02/09 3:00pm Conference call with CEOs from the Business Roundtable
01/22/08 3:00pm Meeting with Scott Serota (President & CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield)
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  • Gerard Cote

    Nice reporting – it would be great to see an aggregation of all schedules to gain more insight into the machinations of government.

  • Fatima Prioleau

    Thank you for providing us with this information.It allows me to share it with others.