Axelrod’s profits: Uh, who’s on the take from the drug lobby again?!?!

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

Axelrod’s profits: Uh, who’s on the take from the drug lobby again?!?!

By Michelle Malkin  •  August 18, 2009 11:03 PM

I’ve reported several times over the last few months on Team Obama’s hefty funding from the health care industry/drug lobby — see here and here — as well on the deep pockets behind the Astroturf HCAN/SEIU/ACORN campaign.

Culture of Corruption also homes in on the cozy cash deals involving Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Sher, and David Axelrod to create faux grass-roots support for the University of Chicago Medical Center’s patient-dumping scheme.

Now, Bloomberg’s Timothy Burger brings news about Axelrod’s latest health care conflicts of interest that will come as no surprise to those who have fully informed themselves of the Chicago way. While White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assails the motives of grass-roots activists by falsely smearing the movement as corporate-funded shills, Barack Obama’s own senior adviser and chief Astroturfer raked in millions of dollars from Big Pharma.

Two firms that received $343.3 million to handle advertising for Barack Obama’s White House run last year have profited from his top priority as president by taking on his push for health-care overhaul.

One is AKPD Message and Media, the Chicago-based firm headed by David Axelrod until he left last Dec. 31 to serve as a senior adviser to the president. Axelrod was Obama’s top campaign strategist and is now helping sell the health-care plan. The other firm is Washington-based GMMB Campaign Group, where partner Jim Margolis was also an Obama strategist.

This year, AKPD and GMMB received $12 million in advertising business from Healthy Economy Now, a coalition that includes the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, that is seeking to build support for a health-care overhaul, said the coalition’s spokesman, Jeremy Van Ess.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the HEN coalition also includes left-wing Families USA, the sellouts at the AARP, and the Purple Army at the SEIU.

What’s Axelrod’s old firm — which employs one of his sons– up to now? When exposed to sunlight, reconstitute, rename, and spin hard:

Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until he sold his interest after Obama’s victory, government records show. The firm owes Axelrod $2 million, which it’s due to pay in installments beginning Dec. 31. Axelrod’s son, Michael, still works there. He didn’t return a phone call. The firm’s Web site continues to feature David Axelrod’s work on the Obama campaign.

…At the White House, Axelrod’s role in the health-care debate ranges from Sunday talk show appearances to meetings with House and Senate lawmakers…

Van Ess said HEN is now dormant. PhRMA and three other members of HEN, plus the Washington-based Federation of American Hospitals, have created another coalition, Americans for Stable Quality Care, which last week announced a new $12 million ad campaign to promote health-care overhaul. GMMB and AKPD are also working on the new coalition’s ads.

Hey, Bobby Gibbs: Tell us again. Who’s funded by the evil health care industry? And who’s motives should you be questioning now? According to Bloomberg, AKPD continues to work with Axelrod “on ’strategy and research’ for the Democratic National Committee.” Why no full disclosure until now? Why didn’t Axelrod recuse himself from his Obamcare lobbying TV appearances given the strong, interest-conflicted odor emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania?

Hey, White House Reality Check: Smell anything fishy, yet?

***

Darleen Click :

Let’s run this again … Man owns firm, man takes government job, man sells firm and firm owes man $2 million (if firm goes bust, man out $2 mil), firm lands multi-million dollar contracts from organizations doing business with the government on a top issue for the person man works for and man is out advocating for.

Doesn’t pass the smell test, no matter how many times it’s being run through the washing machine.

Michelle Malkin is going to have to add another chapter to her book.

Yep.

Firms with Obama ties profit from health push

Firms with Obama ties profit from health push

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer Sharon Theimer, Associated Press Writer Wed Aug 19, 6:08 pm ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama‘s push for a national health care overhaul is providing a financial windfall in the election offseason to Democratic consulting firms that are closely connected to the president and two top advisers.

Coalitions of interest groups running at least $24 million in pro-overhaul ads hired GMMB, which worked for Obama’s 2008 campaign and whose partners include a top Obama campaign strategist. They also hired AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama’s campaign and now to the White House. AKPD did work for Obama’s campaign, and Axelrod’s son Michael and Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe work there.

The firms were hired by Americans for Stable Quality Care and its predecessor, Healthy Economy Now. Each was formed by a coalition of interests with big stakes in health care policy, including the drug maker lobby PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union and Families USA, which calls itself “The Voice for Health Care Consumers.”

Their ads press for changes in health care policy. Healthy Economy Now made one of the same arguments that Obama does: that health care costs are delaying the country’s economic recovery and that changes are needed if the economy is to rebound.

There is no evidence that Axelrod directly profited from the group’s ads. Axelrod took steps to separate himself from AKPD when he joined Obama’s White House. AKPD owes him $2 million from his stock sale and will make preset payments over four years, starting with $350,000 on Dec. 31, according to Axelrod’s personal financial disclosure report.

A larger issue is a network of relationships and overlapping interests that resembles some seen in past administrations and could prove a problem as Obama tries to win the public over on health care and fulfill his promise to change the way Washington works, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group.

“Even if these are obvious bedfellows and kind of standard PR maneuvers, it still stands to undercut Obama’s credibility,” Krumholz said. “The potential takeaway from the public is ‘friends in cahoots to engineer a grass roots result.'”

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said that Axelrod has had no communications with Healthy Economy Now or with Americans for Stable Quality Care, and his payments aren’t affected by the ad contracts. Axelrod’s son, a salaried AKPD employee, doesn’t work with either coalition “or stand to benefit from that work,” LaBolt said.

David Axelrod has fully complied with the toughest-ever ethics rules for administration officials, including divesting from AKPD before the administration began,” LaBolt said.

Ken Johnson, a PhRMA senior vice president, said GMMB and AKPD were the only two firms working on the $24 million in ads. He declined to reveal how much each was paid beyond saying that each received a small percentage of the total. The coalition’s campaign team decided to hire the two firms, he said.

“In a perfect world, it’s a distraction we don’t need right now, but these are very gifted consultants who have done very good work,” Johnson said. “And it’s also important to remember that at the end of the day, the coalition partners determine the message.”

Healthy Economy Now spokesman Jeremy Van Ess said the two firms were hired because “they are the best at what they do. Period.” The coalition didn’t seek approval or direction on any of its activities from the White House, said Van Ess, a partner in a consulting firm that has worked on Democratic Senate election activities and a former speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

AKPD and GMMB both proudly proclaim their connections to Obama on their Web sites.

AKPD has a full page on Axelrod that includes pictures of Obama. In one photo, Obama hugs Plouffe on election night.

“We are deeply honored to have been part of Barack Obama‘s historic campaign to change America and the world,” GMMB says on its Web site. GMMB’s partners include Jim Margolis, a senior strategist for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Both GMMB and AKPD also have worked for Democrats this year. The Democratic National Committee paid AKPD at least $106,000 for polling, media production, communication consulting and travel costs from February through April. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid GMMB roughly $75,000 from February through June for ads. And GMMB took in at least $9,000 this year from Senate leader Reid’s political action committee for communications consulting.

___

U.S. Debt Clock Scary

Ex-ACORN Vegas director to testify against group

Ex-ACORN Vegas director to testify against group
Aug 19 02:13 PM US/Eastern
By OSKAR GARCIA
Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A former Las Vegas director for a political advocacy group accused of illegally paying canvassers to register voters during last year’s presidential campaign has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and agreed to testify against the group and another employee.Chief Deputy Nevada Attorney General Conrad Hafen said Wednesday that Christopher Edwards’ plea deal strengthens a felony case against the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now and Amy Busefink, a former regional voter registration director for ACORN.

Edwards pleaded guilty this week to two counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 17.

Hafen says the group had a local policy of paying bonuses to canvassers who signed up 21 or more new voters per shift.

“ObamaCare and me” by Zane F. Pollard, Atlanta based M.D.

“ObamaCare and me” by Zane F. Pollard, Atlanta

 based M.D.

August 8, 7:35 PM · Ewa Kochanska – Atlanta Political Buzz Examiner

Dr. Zane F. Pollard

While the healthcare reform debate has been picking up this summer, the conversation is mostly between politicians and average citizens who do not practice medicine. US doctors and nurses seem to have been left out from this dispute, even though the outcome will influence them, their lives, their practice, and their ability to stay in business, enormously.

Clearly, if the reform is not private practice “friendly” we as a community might lose our best physicians and our economy might weaken as a result of doctors shutting down or going out of business.  

Below is an opinion of one of Atlanta’s most recognized physicians, Dr. Zane F. Pollard, who works in pediatric ophthalmology for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, Atlanta, GA.


 ObamaCare and me

I have been sitting quietly on the sidelines watching all of this national debate on healthcare. It is time for me to bring some clarity to the table by explaining many of the problems from the perspective of a doctor.

First off, the government has involved very few of us physicians in the  healthcare debate. While the American Medical Association has come out in favor of the plan, it is vital to remember that the AMA only represents 17% of the American physician workforce.

I have taken care of Medicaid patients for 35 years while representing the only pediatric ophthalmology group left in Atlanta, Georgia that accepts Medicaid. For example, in the past 6 months I have cared for three young children on Medicaid who had corneal ulcers. This is a potentially blinding situation because if the cornea perforates from the infection, almost surely blindness will occur. In all three cases the antibiotic needed for the eradication of the infection was not on the approved Medicaid list. 

Each time I was told to fax Medicaid for the approval forms, which I did. Within 48 hours the form came back to me which was sent in immediately via fax, and I was told that I would have my answer in 10 days. Of course by then each child would have been blind in the eye.
 
Each time the request came back denied. All three times I personally provided the antibiotic for  each patient which was not on the Medicaid approved  list. Get the point — rationing of care.

Over the past 35 years I have cared for over 1000 children born with congenital cataracts. In older children and in adults the vision is rehabilitated with an intraocular lens. In newborns we use contact lenses which are very expensive. It takes Medicaid over one year to approve a contact lens post  cataract surgery. By that time a successful anatomical operation is wasted as the child will be close to blind from a lack of focusing for so long a period of time.

Again, extreme rationing. Solution: I have a foundation here in Atlanta supported  100% by private funds which supplies all of these contact lenses for  my Medicaid and illegal immigrants children for free. Again, waiting for the government would be disastrous.

Last week I  had a lady bring her child to me. They are Americans but live in Sweden, as the father has a job with a big corporation. The child had the onset of double vision 3 months ago and has been unable to function normally because of this. They are people of means but are waiting 8 months to see the ophthalmologist in Sweden. Then if the child needed surgery they would be put on a 6 month waiting list. She called me and I saw her that day. It turned out that  the child had  accommodative esotropia (crossing of the eyes treated with glasses that  correct for farsightedness) and  responded to glasses within  4 days, so no surgery was needed. Again, rationing of care.

Last month I operated on a 70 year old lady with double vision present for 3  years. She responded quite nicely to her surgery and now is symptom free. I also operated on a 69 year old  judge with vertical double vision. His surgery went very well and now he is happy as a lark.  I have  been told — but of course  there is no healthcare bill that has been passed yet — that these  2 people because of their age would have  been denied  surgery and just told to wear a patch over one eye to alleviate the symptoms of double vision. Obviously cheaper than surgery.

I spent  two year  in the  US Navy during the Viet Nam war and was well treated by the military. There was tremendous  rationing of care and we were told specifically what things the military personnel and their dependents could have and which things they could not have. While I was in Viet Nam, my wife Nancy got sick  and got essentially no care at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. She went home and went to her family’s  private internist in Beverly Hills. While it was expensive, she received an immediate work up. Again rationing of care.

For those of you who are  over 65, this  bill in its present form might be lethal for you. People in England over 59 cannot receive stents for their coronary arteries. The government wants to mimic the British  plan. For those of you younger, it will still mean restriction of the care that you and your children receive.

While 99% of physicians went into  medicine because of the love of  medicine and the  challenge of helping our fellow man, economics are still important. My rent goes up 2% each year and the salaries of my employees go up 2% each year. Twenty years ago, ophthalmologists were  paid $1800 for a cataract  surgery and today $500. This is a 73%  decrease in our  fees. I do not know of many jobs in America that have seen this sort of lowering of fees.

But there is more to the story than just the lower fees. When I came to Atlanta, there was a well known ophthalmologist that charged $2500 for a cataract surgery as he felt the was the best. He had a terrific reputation and in fact  I had my mother’s bilateral cataracts  operated on by him with a wonderful  result. She is now 94 and has 20/20 vision in both eyes. People would pay his  $2500 fee.

However, then the government came in and said that any doctor that  does  Medicare work cannot accept  more than the going rate ( now $500) or  he or she would be  severely fined. This put an end to his charging  $2500. The government said it was illegal to accept more than the government-allowed  rate. What  I am driving at is that those of you well off  will not  be able to go to the head of the line under this new  healthcare plan, just because you have money, as no physician will be  willing to go against the law to treat  you.

I am a pediatric ophthalmologist and trained for  10 years post-college to become a pediatric ophthalmologist (add  two years  of my service in the Navy and that comes  to 12 years).A neurosurgeon spends 14  years post -college, and if  he or she has to do the military that would be 16 years. I am not entitled to make what a neurosurgeon makes, but the new plan calls for all physicians to make the same amount of payment. I assure you that medical students will not go into neurosurgery and we will have a tremendous shortage of neurosurgeons. Already, the top neurosurgeon at my hospital who is in good health and only 52 years old has just quit because he can’t stand working with the government anymore. Forty-nine percent  of children under the age  of 16 in the state of Georgia are on Medicaid, so he felt he just could not stand working with the bureaucracy anymore.

We are being lied to about the  uninsured. They are getting care. I operate  at least 2  illegal immigrants each month who pay me nothing, and the children’s hospital at which I operate charges them nothing also.This is true not only on Atlanta, but of every community in America. 

The bottom line is that I urge all of you to contact your congresswomen and congressmen and senators to defeat this bill. I promise you that you will not like rationing of your own health.
 
Furthermore, how can you trust a physician that works under these conditions knowing that he is controlled by the state. I certainly could not trust any doctor that  would work under these  draconian conditions.
 
One last thing: with this new healthcare plan there will be a tremendous shortage of physicians. It has been estimated that  approximately 5% of the current physician work force  will quit under this new  system. Also it is estimated that another 5% shortage will occur because of the decreased number of men and women wanting to go into medicine. At the present time the US government has  mandated gender equity in  admissions to medical schools .That means that  for the past  15 years  that  somewhere  between 49 and 51% of  each entering class are females. This is true of private schools also, because all private schools receive federal funding.

The average  career of a woman in medicine now is only 8-10 years and the average work week for a female in medicine is only 3-4 days. I have now trained 35  fellows in pediatric ophthalmology. Hands down the  best was  a female that I trained  4 years  ago — she  was head and  heels above all  others I have trained. She now  practices  only 3 days a week.


 

Originally published on www.americanthinker.com 
 
Dr. Pollard was on the “Best Doctors in Atlanta” list in Atlanta Magazine from 1998 to 2001. In 2001 he was also on the “Best Doctors in the U.S.A.” list. He is an author of more than 90 scientific papers and a recipient of many awards and honors.  
 
Education:
Fellowship: Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
                     Pediatric ophthalmology, 1974
Residency: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif., 1967
Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La., M.D., 1968
                             Honors: Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society
Undergraduate: Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. 
 

 

Obama visit to Montana

Hello All,
 
 By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last
 Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not
 covered. I feel that since Joe and I live here and we were at the
 airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you
 decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share
 this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before

 you forward this on.
 
 On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President
 would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his
 healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding
 on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY
 details other than the date.
 
 On about Tuesday Joe found out that they would be holding the “Town
 Hall” at the airport. (This is only because Joe knows EVERYONE at the
 airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town)
 in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a
 hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a
 more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally
 secluded from the public.
 FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a
 large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums).
 All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED
 IN!! $$$$$
 During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly.
 Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it
 was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was,
 especially during a recession. $$$$$
 
 Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be
 handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the president would be
 arriving around 12:30 Friday.
 
 Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were
 tickets just DISAPPEARED.
 This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS
 branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for
 Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would
 have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard
 of the Recession?? Just think…with all of the traveling the White
 House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.
 
 On Friday Joe and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups
 that wanted to protest Obama’s spending and healthcare had gotten a
 permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A
 large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members
 drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a
 commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble
 and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but
 they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.
 The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the
 age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and
 PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and
 Planned Parenthood folks were with them…..professing abortion rights
 with their T-shirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have
 a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)
 
 Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to
 avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU
 kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating
 and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.
 
 So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade
 signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses,
 doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been
 driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store,
 made a sign, and came to protest.
 
 If you are wondering about the press…..Well, all of the major networks
 were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently
 parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds
 were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything
 about the crowds.
 We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho.
 Speaking of the local media…they were invited. However, all questions
 were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn’t
 want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.
 
 It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the
 White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make
 it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government
 healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance
 woes……..the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and
 Development Committee) and asked for names. Then the White House asked
 those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors…EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!
 
 I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House.
 The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was
 not living in the United States of America, more like the USSR!! I was
 physically nauseous. Joe and I have been around when Presidents or Heads
 of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened
 for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care
 about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress
 hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so
 much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on
 in Washington DC. Scary!!
 
 
 
 Sue
 Bozeman, Montana

Democratic Party ratings plummet

Democratic Party ratings plummet
By: Andy Barr
August 19, 2009 01:36 PM EST

The percentage of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party has slipped below 50 percent for the first time since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

Only 49 percent of Americans now hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party, down from 62 percent in the same poll shortly after Obama assumed office. Democratic favorable ratings hovered around 60 percent as recently as April, when 59 percent of those polled held a favorable view.

The national survey of 2,010 adults conducted Aug. 11-17 also found that 51 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance with 37 percent disapproving. Independents split 45 percent-43 percent in approving of the president’s performance.

While Democratic numbers have plunged, the GOP has yet to see any uptick among voters. Only 40 percent of those polled held a favorable view of the Republican Party, a number which Pew noted “has not changed all year.”

In addition, a growing number of Americans believe Obama and Republican leaders are not working together to address the problems facing the nation. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) think the two groups are not working together, compared to 50 percent in June.

The number of Americans who blame Obama for not working with GOP leaders is also on the rise. Among those polled, 17 percent blamed the president, up from 12 percent in June. But even more (29 percent) held GOP leaders responsible for not working together, up from 26 percent in February.