White House Visitor Logs Show Large Lobbyist Presence For Head of White House Health Office

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Upon assuming the presidency Barack Obama set about creating an office within the White House to spearhead his effort to pass health care reform legislation. The White House Office of Health Reform was to be headed by a long-time health reform player in both the public and private sectors, Nancy-Ann DeParle. According to White House visitor logs, seventeen lobbyists for key interests working on health care reform held eleven meetings with DeParle through 2009.

These lobbyists represented a cross section of interests from those who would ultimately oppose legislation to the outwardly supportive. The majority came from health industry groups that were, if not hostile, trying to protect their interests.

The organization most present in DeParle’s schedule is the American Medical Association (AMA). After years of opposing health care reform efforts the AMA backed health reform efforts in 2009 and, in November, stated their support for the House health care reform bill. Representatives from the AMA met with DeParle three times from August to October. The lobbyists present at the meetings were Richard Deem, the senior vice president for advocacy at the AMA, and Richard Tarplin, a lobbyist from Tarplin Strategies.

Both Deem and Tarplin have connections to past health reform efforts. Deem was the AMA’s director of federal affairs during the effort by President Bill Clinton to pass comprehensive health care reform. Tarplin was working in the Clinton White House at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the time. Tarplin likely worked with DeParle during the Clinton health care effort as DeParle was in charge of health reform issues at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and later worked at HHS.

Other lobbyists appearing on DeParle’s schedule include Karen Ignagni, the President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and another AHIP lobbyist, Gary Bacher. The White House tried for months to bring AHIP to table on health care reform, but ultimately found that they could not reach on agreement to obtain their support for reform. Later reports revealed that AHIP was paying for anti-health care reform advertisements through the US Chamber of Commerce.

DeParle also met with lobbyists from AARP, AFL-CIO, Alliance of Community Health Plans, Business Roundtable, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The full list of meetings can be viewed below:

Health Industry Meetings With Nancy-Ann DeParle
Date Lobbyist Name Client
May 28, 2009 Jack Ebeler Alliance of Community Health Plans
July 23, 2009 Nancy Taylor Business Roundtable
July 23, 2009 Stephen Ciccone Eastman Kodak
July 23, 2009 John Castellani Business Roundtable
July 23, 2009 Maria Ghazal Business Roundtable
August 11, 2009 Richard Trachtman American College of Physicians
August 11, 2009 Rosemarie Sweeney American Academy of Family Physicians
August 11, 2009 Richard Deem American Medical Association
September 16, 2009 Donald Danner National Federation of Independent Businesses
September 16, 2009 Susan Eckerly National Federation of Independent Businesses
October 6, 2009 Richard Tarplin American Medical Association
October 6, 2009 Richard Deem American Medical Association
October 7, 2009 Karen Ignagni America’s Health Insurance Plans
October 7, 2009 Gary Bacher America’s Health Insurance Plans
October 9, 2009 John Castellani Business Roundtable
October 14, 2009 Scott Serota Blue Cross/Blue Shield
October 14, 2009 Alissa Fox Blue Cross/Blue Shield
October 19, 2009 Nancy Leamond AARP
October 21, 2009 Richard Deem American Medical Association
October 21, 2009 Richard Tarplin American Medical Association
October 28, 2009 Gerald Shea AFL-CIO
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  • Brutarius

    The report Joe Hadley cites is so flawed as to be almost worthless.

    Nirit Weiss, who is an MD and holds an MBA, points out the problems.

    In attempting to diagnose the ills of America’s healthcare system, the Scorecard suffers from serious flaws that challenge the validity of its conclusions – flaws that were, essentially, ignored by the authors of the study and completely missed by the media coverage. These flaws fall into three categories:

    1. The methodology by which the data were collected and the studies were designed to address specific questions.
    2. Arbitrary definitions and metrics used to define the concept of “quality” in health care.
    3. Sweeping, broad conclusions that are unsubstantiated by the findings of the study.

    Regarding methodology, Weiss writes, “Unfortunately, the Scorecard is based upon multiple disparate studies, using various methodologies, non-uniform definitions of ‘benchmark,’ and arbitrary assumptions as to what ‘logical policy goals’ are, and what ‘adequately insured’ actually means…In peer-reviewed, scientific literature, it is invalid to lump together the results of multiple studies, using multiple methodologies, in the same charts, graphs, and conclusions, without assigning relative weight to the results of the studies. Adding even more to the confusion, many of the reported data are not directly referenced to published studies, so it is impossible to trace and evaluate the sources of the information.”

    Read about the other egregious errors at Stats.org, run by George Mason University:

    http://stats.org/stories/2008/how_bad_american_health_care_dec02_08.html

    Instead of believing the globalist puppet and social engineers Bill Moyers has on his propaganda hour, you should stead do a little research to learn the agenda behind such comments.

  • Joe Hadley

    see http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02052010/profile3.html Dr. Margaret Flowers is a Maryland pediatrician with experience as a hospitalist at a rural hospital and in private practice. She is currently the Congressional Fellow of Physicians for a National Health Program, working on single-payer health care reform full time.
    The U.S.ranks highest in total cost of care, but according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, ranks last among industrialized countries “in preventing deaths through use of timely and effective medical care.”

  • Perhaps you’ve already covered this, but do we know the AMA’s specific (or current) position? I ask because the president of our region’s biggest hospital has been advocating single-payer, of all things, for quite a while, and I always found that intriguing coming from someone in the medical field.