On September 19, 2013, Richard Schott of Cardiology Consultants of Pennsylvania penned an op-ed supporting Governor Corbett’s medicaid expansion plan – or Corbett-Care – for Pennlive.com. In the article Schott wrote:
While the answers to those questions depend upon how the governor’s plan advances through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s physicians and patients should be encouraged by the plan because “Healthy PA” will push important Pennsylvania health care issues forward.
No doubt, the centerpiece of the governor’s plan creates a Pennsylvania solution to help our uninsured residents get access to health care.
If it’s successful, billions of dollars in federal Medicaid expansion funds would enable more than 500,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians to purchase health insurance through exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act. Participants will share the cost by paying part of the monthly premium, much like those with health insurance do today.
The oped goes on and it fails to mention that Corbett-Care has work search requirements, co-pays and the fact that it doesn’t expand the state’s medicaid rolls. However, Mr. Schott has financial ties – to the tune of $250 – to Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gubernatorial front-runner Allyson Schwartz. Grant it, this donation isn’t “scandalous,” but it is just another example of who is one of the largest groups / financial interests funding Allyson Schwartz’s political career. This type of donation is one that was probably for a fundraising dinner where someone pays the $250.00 to have a small meet and greet with the political candidate, exchange business cards with that candidate and staffers and to let the candidate know what your priorities are. These are the types of events I spent my Harrisburg internship going to and knowing how the game works.
On a sidenote, other donations Schott has contributed have gone to Rick Santorum, McCain/Palin, Citizens United, American Medical Association, and Pat Meehan.
Over the past couple of years, Keystone Politics’ editor and blogger Jon Geeting has been following Schwartz’s horrible record when it comes to the ACA. On a couple of occasions, Geeting writes:
Electorally speaking, Allyson Schwartz would be a strong candidate to run against Tom Corbett for Governor in 2014.
But until she flip flops on health care issues, I can’t be an advocate for her nomination.
Congresswoman Schwartz’s M.O. on health care issues over the past two sessions has been to give House Republicans cover to dismantle important parts of Obamacare.
And the parts of Obamacare that she wants to get rid of all have one thing in common: they would reduce profits for health care providers – hospitals, medical device makers, doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
I think the fight over health care reform gave a lot of Democrats a funny idea about what the political economy of health care cost control is all about.
The Democratic Party chose to make insurance companies the villain of that fight, naturally, because everybody hates insurance companies. And it’s true that the very existence of private insurance companies is a huge waste.
Allyson Schwartz is on the wrong side of this debate. She has vocally opposed all theObamacare policies that would actually bring the prices down – IPAB (which she eventually caved on), provider taxes, and the medical device tax.
This is a huge problem for her candidacy for Governor. As Governor she would be in charge of implementing Obamacare, and would have opportunities at the state level to reduce prices if she wants to, such as copying Maryland’s all-payer rate setting policy.
So far though, I don’t see any signs that she wants to bring the prices down.
I don’t want to turn Keystone Politics into the Schwartz opposition blog over the next year, but that’s where we’re headed if we don’t start to see her adjust her positions to reflect what’s best for the state instead of just her hospital-dominated Congressional District.
But it’s only because House Republicans put a poison pill in the bill:
Republicans are still trying to erode support for Obama’s Medicare plan — one that preserves the program’s single-payer benefit structure — and to build consensus around their competing plan to provide seniors capped subsidies to buy private insurance. So far they’ve had more luck with the former. Now they’re putting their early gains on the line.
“Unfortunately, Republican leadership is manipulating the dialogue on this issue for political purposes, which will undoubtedly lead many Democratic members to vote against the bill — despite support for the underlying policy from House Democrats across the ideological spectrum,” Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), the most outspoken Democratic opponent of Obama’s Medicare panel, told TPM. “By unnecessarily tying repeal of IPAB to a partisan malpractice bill, House Republicans have effectively ensured that this bill is dead. This is deeply disappointing.”
What’s disappointing is that Schwartz has no problem with the fact that Americans pay so much higher prices for the same treatments
than other countries do:
We don’t get better results for paying these higher prices either. American health outcomes are worse. We need IPAB so that we can pay the same prices as other countries for the same treatments. Allyson Schwartz does not want to lower prices. She ultimately agrees with Paul Ryan that the way to save Medicare is to give you less and less of the too-expensive health care, rather than making the health care itself less expensive.
If progressives around the state want to continue to paint Allyson Schwartz as the “progressive’s pick” and not an establishment candidate, I’m sure that I’ll have no problem pointing this out when it arises. I hope others in the Pennsylvania blogosphere fell the same as.