Private health insurance lobbyist throws fundraiser for Nancy Pelosi: Report

Anyone who believes there is a dimes worth of difference between a career Democrat and a career Republican is seriously delusional. But the public will continue to believe anything they are told, in spite of the evidence. Too bad.

From Raw Story:

One day after House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi softened her stance on a public health option, a lobbyist for one of the country’s most prominent private health insurers announced a fundraiser for the California Democrat, a news report says.

Writing at OpenLeft, reporter David Sirota says lobbyist Steve Elmendorf of Elmendorf Strategies announced a fundraiser at his own home, under the title “Event with House Speaker Pelosi at my home,” to take place September 24. Admission is $2.400 for individuals, and $5,000 for representatives of political action committees.

Elmendorf’s Web site lists UnitedHealth as one of his clients.

In a report late last week, Bloomberg news service said that UnitedHealth is one of the companies that stands to see its profit margin bloated if the current proposed health reform plans pass Congress:

New legislation may generate 10 million more customers for Amerigroup Corp., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and other companies that administer Medicaid, the government plan that covers the poorest Americans, according to James Carlson, Amerigroup’s chief executive officer.

While President Barack Obama has pitched his revamping of health care as a bid to “keep insurance companies honest,” expanding Medicaid is likely to offset any losses from new regulations and taxes, at least for insurers who specialize in the program, Carlson said.

That means more revenue for an industry House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called “immoral” and the chief obstacle to covering the uninsured, in an Aug. 1 interview with the California Democrat.

The Bloomberg article references statements Pelosi made in late July, when she told the press: “It’s almost immoral what they [the health insurance companies] are doing. … Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure. They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.”

But last week, after President Barack Obama’s address on health care to Congress, Pelosi — who according to CNN “said as recently as Tuesday that a public option was essential” — appeared to have weakened in her insistence on a public option as part of health care reform.

“This is about a goal. It’s not about provisions,” Pelosi said. Echoing the president’s talking point from his speech last week, Pelosi said that as long as legislation meets goals of “affordability and accessibility and quality … then we will go forward with that bill.”

In his blog posting, Sirota publishes the email in which UnitedHealth lobbyist Elmendorf announced the Pelosi fundraiser:

From: Steve Elmendorf [mailto:steve@elmendorfstrategies.com]
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 8:31 AM
Subject: event with Speaker Pelosi at my home

You are cordially invited to a reception with

Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi

Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:30pm ~ 8:00pm

At the home of
Steve Elmendorf
2301 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 7B
Washington, D.C.

$5,000 PAC
$2,400 Individual

To RSVP or for additional information please contact
Carmela Clendening at (202) 485-3508 or clendening@dccc.org

Steve Elmendorf
ELMENDORF STRATEGIES
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS SOLUTIONS
900 7th Street NW Suite 750 Washington DC 20001
(202) 737-1655

“The sequencing here is important,” Sirota writes. “Pelosi makes her announcement and then just hours later, the fundraising invitation goes out. Coincidental? I’m guessing no — these things rarely ever are.”

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