Fairfax, VA, May 20, 2010 – White House Director of the Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle is the latest Obama official with unacceptable ties to individual companies in an industry in which her office determines who survives and who doesn't.
Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson contends that, "DeParle is the exact kind of revolving-door political appointee that Obama railed against during his campaign.
She regulated health care companies in the Clinton Administration, made millions serving on the boards of seven of those companies while out of power during the Bush Administration, and now she is overseeing Obamacare giving her tremendous ability to pick winners and losers."
While she is technically required to recuse herself for two years, the very nature of her job requires that DeParle be intimately involved in developing hundreds of thousands of pages of rules and regulations impacting every aspect of the health care system.
The development of an electronic medical records system is just one area that is both unavoidable and troublesome. DeParle served on the Board of Directors of medical records software producer Cerner Corporation from 2001 to 2009, being paid at least $680,000. When developing regulations, Cerner competitors and taxpayers would be right to question how much her decision making on guidelines could steer business toward Cerner whether they had the best product for the job or not.
Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard University, and a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Plan clearly expresses this concern stating, "The woman owes her fortune to the corporations that she is making decisions about. She cashed in really big on her previous role in government and made millions and millions of dollars. Then she divests and all of a sudden she's Snow White? It's ridiculous."
Beyond picking winners and losers in industry, the record of the companies providing DeParle her largesse is spotty at best. Seven companies, which paid her millions to serve on their Board of Directors, ran afoul of the law with problems like concealing patient deaths from regulators, irregular billing investigations, using unlicensed personnel in violation of state laws, and overbilling the government and filing false claims.
ALG's Wilson reminds that, "Since 2006, Directors are much more accountable for the legal failings of the companies they are supposed to oversee, yet DeParle has engaged in check cashing without accountability, and now oversees these very companies who have paid massive fines because of their rule breaking under her watch.
Her conflicts of interest make her unfit to serve, and Obama should immediately request her resignation."