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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Big Pharma/U.S. Gov’t graft keeps pummeling public interest

Worse than foxes in hen houses
From Glenn Greenwald’s Guardian piece “‘Obamacare’ architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job ─ Few people embody the corporatist revolving door greasing Washington as purely as Elizabeth Fowler”
Excerpting, editing, minor comment by Carolyn Bennett

This is some of what Greenwald had to say.

Whatever were and are individual “views on ‘Obamacare’ ─ the bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry,” Greenwald writes, “… it is difficult to find someone who embodies the sleazy, anti-democratic, corporatist revolving door that greases Washington as shamelessly and as purely as federal legislation architect/corp lobbyist Elizabeth Fowler.”

As chief health policy counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (Democrat - Montana) and to the lead committee drafting the legislation, Elizabeth Fowler was chief architect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’)

Scandalously incestuous graft pummels public interest

Baucus-Fowler (l-r)
Most amazing in this scandal (my word not Greenwald’s) is that “before joining Baucus’ office as the point person for the health care bill,” Greenwald writes, “Fowler was Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (that is, informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider (before and after working at WellPoint, Fowler had worked as Baucus’ top health care aide).

Landing the position at Baucus’ office and as chief architect of the Baucus-Fowler health care bill, Fowler took over from another Big Pharma/Gov’t plant: Baucus chief health counsel Michelle Easton, a principal at Tarplin, Downs and Young and lobbyist for WellPoint.

A 2011 profile at the National Retail Federation Summit site says Fowler "serves  as Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy at the National Economic Council."

Now Elizabeth Fowler is reportedly swinging from the White House to another drug company, Johnson and Johnson. She will take a senior-level position leading ‘global health policy’ at Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group.” 

Government? Non government? Corporate? Public service? Private interest? Conflict of interest? Graft? All of the above?

Fowler’s new principal employer, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, had “actively supported passage of ‘Obamacare’ through its membership in the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobby.”

PhRMA,”Glennwald reports, “was one of the most aggressive supporters ─ and most lavish beneficiaries ─ of the health care bill drafted by Elizabeth Fowler.”

Consequences of Graft
graft noun (1865): the acquisition of gain in dishonest or questionable ways; also: illegal or unfair gain

This scandalous and unethical behavior (Did I say law? Who are the makers and breakers and executors of laws?), Glennwald correctly concludes, is “what demonstrates that corporatism and oligarchy are the dominant forms of government in the United States…

It is “what ensures that the interests of the same permanent power factions are served regardless of election outcomes.

It is what makes a complete mockery out claims of democracy.

And sadly, he says, “this is precisely the behavior which, quite rationally, makes the citizenry so jaded about Washington.”

Sources and notes

“Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job─ Few people embody the corporatist revolving door greasing Washington as purely as Elizabeth Fowler” (Glenn Greenwald, December 5, 2012,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1
From © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

Obamacare (Wikipedia note)

Commonly called Obamacare or the federal health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a United States federal statute signed into law on March 23, 2010, by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Glenn Greenwald

Former constitutional lawyer, Glenn Greenwald is a civil liberties and U.S. national security issues columnist for the Guardian and an author; his latest book: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.

Other books by Greenwald include: Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is recipient of an I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

See also www.CommonDreams.org; Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/05-0

Max Sieben Baucus (1941 - )
Senate Years of Service: 1978-  
Party: Democratic

Senator and a Representative from Montana

Elected as a Democrat on November 7, 1978 to the United States Senate for the term commencing January 3, 1979; subsequently appointed by the Governor on December 15, 1978 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Paul Hatfield for the term ending January 3, 1979; reelected in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, and again in 2008 for the term ending January 3, 2015; chair, Committee on Environment and Public Works (One Hundred Third Congress), Committee on Finance (One Hundred Seventh Congress [January 3-20, 2001; June 6, 2001-January 3, 2003], One Hundred Tenth to One Hundred Twelfth Congresses); vice chair, Joint Committee on Taxation (One Hundred Seventh Congress, One Hundred Eleventh Congress).

Elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth Congress (House of Representatives) in 1974; reelected to the Ninety-fifth Congress and served from January 3, 1975, until his resignation December 14, 1978; was not a candidate in 1978 for reelection to the House of Representatives.

Born in Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, December 11, 1941; attended the public schools of Missoula and Helena, Mont.; attended Carleton College, Northfield, Minn. 1959-1960; graduated, Stanford (Calif.) University 1964 and Stanford University Law School 1967; admitted to the Montana Bar in 1969 and commenced practice in Washington, D.C. with various federal agencies; returned to Montana and practiced law in Missoula; served in the Montana house of representatives 1973-1974.  http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000243

Elizabeth Fowler 

ELIZABETH J. FOWLER, Ph.D., J.D., (2011 profile at National Retail Federation summit site) serves as Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy at the National Economic Council.

She joins the NEC after serving as Deputy Director for Policy for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the new agency tasked with implementing the insurance market reforms included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

During the health reform debate, Fowler served as Senior Counsel to the Chair and Chief Health Counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), where she played a critical role in development of the committee and Senate health reform legislation.

In a previous stint with the Finance Committee, she also played a key role in the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA). Fowler has more than 20 years experience in health services research and health policy.

She served as vice president of public policy and external affairs for WellPoint, Inc. and as an attorney with the Washington law firm Hogan & Hartson.

She also spent nearly five years as a health services researcher with HealthSystem Minnesota.

Fowler received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where her research focused on risk adjustment, and a law degree (J.D.) from the University of Minnesota. She is admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Source: National Retail Federation (the Voice of Retail Worldwide), NRF Human Resources Executives Summit October 11-13, 2011, W Hotel, Dallas, Texas http://events.nrf.com/HR11/public/SpeakerDetails.aspx?FromPage=Calendar.aspx&ContactID=16774


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1 comment:

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