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|
|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|