Health­care lead­ers fun­nel cash to Hil­lary Clin­ton, shun Don­ald Trump

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Bob Her­man and Shan­non Much­more

Health­care lead­ers ap­par­ently don’t think much of Don­ald Trump.

A quar­ter of 100 prom­i­nent health­care ex­ec­u­tives gave money to Trump’s op­po­nent, Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton. The rest have not do­nated to ei­ther Clin­ton or Trump, ac­cord­ing to a Mod­ern Health­care anal­y­sis of fed­eral elec­tion records. Not a sin­gle one fi­nan­cially backed Trump, even though many of them have a his­tory of do­nat­ing to con­ser­va­tive politi­cians and causes.

The ab­sence of sup­port for the un­con­ven­tional GOP can­di­date is not sur­pris­ing, said Grant Ree­her, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor and director at Syra­cuse Univer­sity’s Camp­bell Pub­lic Af­fairs In­sti­tute. Trump’s cam­paign, which has in­cluded charged rhetoric against mi­nori­ties, has turned off many peo­ple who might oth­er­wise sup­port the Repub­li­can ticket. Most re­cently, he has come un­der fire for vul­gar com­ments about sex­ual as­sault, prompt­ing many in the party to dis­avow his can­di­dacy.

And since the out­set of his cam­paign, Trump has es­chewed the fi­nan­cial back­ing of other busi­ness elites. “He’s only asked for the money af­ter his po­lit­i­cal brand had be­come toxic,” Ree­her said.

The find­ings also are con­sis­tent with Mod­ern Health­care’s sec­ond-quar­ter CEO Power Panel poll, which found many health­care ex­ec­u­tives sup­port the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­sur­ance ex­pan­sions and the law’s goals to shift away from fee-for-ser­vice medicine.

Clin­ton has em­pha­sized im­prov­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act, while Trump has vowed to re­peal Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture health­care law with­out a clear plan for re­plac­ing it.

“I don’t think most peo­ple in the health­care sec­tor want ev­ery­thing blown up,” said Theda Skocpol, a Har­vard Univer­sity pro­fes­sor of govern­ment and so­ci­ol­ogy who stud­ies health­care re­form. “I think they want changes in health­care pol­icy, but they prob­a­bly don’t want chaos. And Trump didn’t re­ally have any­thing spe­cific to of­fer ex­cept chaos.”

Mod­ern Health­care an­a­lyzed Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion fil­ings for 100 health­care CEOs and lead­ers, many of whom ap­peared on Mod­ern Health­care’s 100 Most In­flu­en­tial Peo­ple in Health­care rank­ing for 2016. The Demo­cratic nom­i­nee was the clear fa­vorite. Twenty-five ex­ec­u­tives cu­mu­la­tively plunked $74,655 into the Clin­ton cam­paign’s piggy bank.

Five ex­ec­u­tives have do­nated the max­i­mum $5,400 to Clin­ton: Geisinger Health Sys­tem

Dr. David Fein­berg; CEO In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross CEO Daniel Hil­ferty; re­tir­ing Ad­ven­tist Health

Don­ald Sys­tem CEO Jerni­gan; Cen­tene Corp. CEO Michael Nei­dorff; and Duke

Dr. Univer­sity Health Sys­tem CEO Eu­gene Wash­ing­ton.

The law caps in­di­vid­ual po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions to $2,700 per elec­tion to a fed­eral can­di­date, but that limit ap­plies sep­a­rately to pri­maries and the gen­eral elec­tion.

Twenty-one of the 25 Clin­ton sup­port­ers have given at least $2,700 since the start of the cam­paign. Most of them are lead­ers of hos­pi­tals and in­te­grated health sys­tems and in­clude Kaiser Per­ma­nente CEO Bernard Tyson; North­west­ern Memo­rial Health­Care CEO Dean Har­ri­son; Dig­nity Health CEO Lloyd Dean; Memo­rial Her­mann

Dr. Ben­jamin Health Sys­tem CEO Chu; and Mon­te­fiore Health Sys­tem CEO Dr. Steven Safyer.

Some Clin­ton donors—in­clud­ing Hil­ferty and Univer­sity of Texas MD An­der­son Cancer Cen­ter Pres­i­dent Dr. Ron­ald DePinho— also do­nated heav­ily to the re-elec­tion cam­paign of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose health pol­icy views dif­fer con­sid­er­ably from Clin­ton’s. Ryan, like Trump, wants Congress to spike the ACA.

Six ex­ec­u­tives who do­nated money to

the Clin­ton cam­paign pre­vi­ously fun­neled cash to Repub­li­cans Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Ka­sich, who all lost to Trump in the pri­maries. Christie has since been a sur­ro­gate for the Trump cam­paign.

Prime Health­care Ser­vices CEO Dr. Prem Reddy Jef

and UPMC CEO frey Ro­moff

both do­nated to Christie’s bid be­fore switch­ing to Clin­ton. Cen­tene’s Nei­dorff, Providence St.

Dr. Rod­ney Joseph Health CEO Hochman

and Tenet Health­care Corp. Trevor Fet­ter CEO each gave money to Bush’s failed cam­paign be­fore go­ing with the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee. Hil­ferty of In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross went with an all-of-the-above ap­proach. He gave to Bush, Christie and Ka­sich—in ad­di­tion to Clin­ton.

Ree­her said the change of heart for some ex­ec­u­tives shows peo­ple view their po­lit­i­cal do­na­tions as in­vest­ments. “They want to back the win­ner be­cause they want to have the pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with the per­son in power,” he said.

Fet­ter’s about-face is per­haps most sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing he gave $100,000 last year to Right to Rise USA, a “su­per” po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee that sup­ported Bush, an­other ACA critic. Be­fore en­ter­ing the race, Bush served as a board mem­ber at Tenet, a for-profit hos­pi­tal chain that Fet­ter has led since 2003.

Fet­ter was not made avail­able for an in­ter­view. Many other health­care ex­ec­u­tives in­cluded in the anal­y­sis ei­ther de­clined an in­ter­view or were not avail­able to dis­cuss their do­na­tions.

Bush at­tracted a lot of money from health­care lead­ers dur­ing the pri­maries, when he was pre­sumed to be the Repub­li­can stan­dard-bearer. None of them redi­rected their sup­port to Trump af­ter Bush dropped out in Fe­bru­ary. Twelve of the 100 ex­ec­u­tives do­nated to Bush’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to the anal­y­sis, and that in­cluded a few who fol­lowed in Fet­ter’s foot­steps by giv­ing large sums of money to the Right to Rise USA su­per PAC.

Jonathan Bush, CEO of elec­tronic health record ven­dor Athenahealth and cousin of Jeb Bush, matched Fet­ter’s $100,000 do­na­tion to that su­per PAC, which can ac­cept un­lim­ited amounts from peo­ple and com­pa­nies. Dr. Roger Medel, CEO of physi­cian out­sourc­ing com­pany Med­nax, pitched in $50,000 to Right to Rise USA. Bos­ton-based Ste­ward Health Care Sys­tem CEO Dr. Ralph de la

Torre do­nated $25,000 to the same po­lit­i­cal group, and R. Mil­ton John

son, CEO of HCA Hold­ings, the largest for-profit hos­pi­tal com­pany in the U.S., gave $10,000.

None of those four ex­ec­u­tives has sent funds to Trump’s cam­paign cof­fers or any su­per PAC sup­port­ing him. Jonathan Bush, how­ever, has given $2,700 to Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date Gary John­son.

Ka­sich, who dropped out of the Repub­li­can race in May, also was a pop­u­lar can­di­date among right-lean­ing health­care ex­ec­u­tives. Ka­sich re­ceived $1,500 from David Holm­berg, CEO of provider and health in­sur­ance sys­tem High­mark Health; and $2,700 from John Lech­leiter, re­tir­ing CEO of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Eli Lilly & Co. The Ohio gov­er­nor also col­lected $2,700 from Athenahealth’s Bush, mak­ing Bush one of the most po­lit­i­cally ac­tive health­care CEOs.

Even former Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Dr. Ben Car­son, a neu­ro­sur­geon who flamed out in March, has gar­nered more cam­paign funds from top health­care ex­ec­u­tives than Trump. A $1,000 do­na­tion to Car­son is linked to an ad­dress listed on other fil­ings for HCA’s John­son.

Many of the health­care ex­ec­u­tives who have not do­nated to Trump this elec­tion cy­cle have long his­to­ries of giv­ing to Repub­li­can mem­bers of Congress as well as to former GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates Mitt Rom­ney and John McCain. Florida Blue CEO Pa­trick Ger­aghty, Se­lect Med­i­cal Hold­ings Corp. CEO Robert Orten­zio, Blue Cross and Blue Shield As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Scott Serota, Pfizer CEO Ian

Read and sev­eral oth­ers have each given thou­sands of dol­lars to lead­ing anti-ACA Repub­li­cans such as Paul Ryan, former House Speaker John Boehner or Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell.

Aetna CEO Mark Ber­tolini, who has steered cash to­ward nu­mer­ous po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates on both sides of the aisle over the years, do­nated $1,000 to­ward Clin­ton’s se­nate re-elec­tion cam­paign in 2005. But he has not given any­thing to ei­ther ma­jor party can­di­date dur­ing this cy­cle.

Clin­ton wasn’t the first lib­eral choice for some health­care lead­ers. Geisinger’s Fein­berg and Dr.

Ge­orges Ben­jamin, ex­ec­u­tive director of the Amer­i­can Pub­lic Health As­so­ci­a­tion, each do­nated to former Mary­land Gov. Mar­tin O’Mal­ley’s cam­paign be­fore he left the race. RoseAnn

DeMoro, head of Na­tional Nurses United, en­dorsed and do­nated roughly $2,000 to the cam­paign of Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders, who sup­ports a sin­gle-payer sys­tem. DeMoro has since stayed on the side­lines.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.