For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Walmart Pushes Workers onto Medicaid as Obamacare Architect Goes to Big Pharma — and the Blogger who Predicted Both
The Huffington Post recently reported in “Walmart’s New Health Care Policy Shifts Burden To Medicaid, Obamacare” that “Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s policy obtained by The Huffington Post. … ‘Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured,’ said Ken Jacobs, chairman of the Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.”
Wheeler similarly highlighted the revolving door aspects of who was behind the legislation at the time. Glenn Greenwald just wrote the piece “Obamacare Architect leaves White House for Pharmaceutical Industry Job,” noting “Few people embody the corporatist revolving door greasing Washington as purely as Elizabeth Fowler. … When the legislation that became known as ‘Obamacare’ was first drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Folwer, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: ‘If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.’
“What was most amazing about all of that was that, before joining Baucus’ office as the point person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider.”
On Tuesday, Politico reported Fowler now “is leaving the White House for a senior-level position leading ‘global health policy’ at Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group.”
Wheeler wrote a series of pieces in 2009, highlighting the revolving door: ”to the extent that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well.”
Note: Yesterday, Max Baucus and the Center for American Progress participated in a “Fix the Debt” event organized by Peter Peterson, who has long demonized Social Security.
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