by Todd Beeton, Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 06:44:53 PM EDT
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president and former head of the DNC, seems to be proving his detractors on the left correct by running to speak in front of the AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans) convention in San Francisco on June 19th. McAuliffe is listed on the program as "Chairman of Hillary Clinton for President" and with that, lends the event credibility and, in my mind, embarrasses Hillary Clinton, while giving the industry political cover. Not that our presidential candidates' healthcare plans proposed eliminating the private health insurance industry, of course, but as Lucas O'Connor says at the Courage blog:
There's an opportunity to take huge steps towards fixing the damage done by the Bush Administration and make positive change towards a country that simply takes better care of its citizens.
But as Democrats, we're going to have a much tougher time getting there if we don't all travel together. Which is why, with millions of Americans unable to get basic health care, it's so distressing that former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe is cashing a big check from the insurance companies in San Francisco June 19.
Not to mention that the session during which McAuliffe is scheduled to speak is being sponsored by Assurant Healthcare. You know, these guys:
Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas R. Sullivan announced a regulatory settlement today that ends a lengthy investigation, requires two Assurant Health insurers to implement a corrective action plan and requires the insurers to pay approximately $920,000 in restitution to insureds and $2.1 million in monetary penalties. The State of Connecticut Insurance Department alleges that the companies violated Connecticut insurance laws and regulations arising under short-term health insurance policies. [...]
"The Assurant Companies are paying a severe monetary penalty to the State of Connecticut," Commissioner Sullivan said. "Our examination primarily related to what we believed were unfair acts or practices arising under their administration of short-term health insurance policies."
These are not our friends and I agree with Rick Jacobs, Chair of the Courage Campaign (for whom I do part-time work) that Terry McAuliffe should not appear at -- or take a speaking fee from -- the AHIP convention on June 19. If you agree, sign on to this letter to McAuliffe from Rick:
In the name of over 100 million uninsured and underinsured Americans frozen out of our profit-driven health care system, please don't lend your legitimacy as a leader in the Democratic Party to these corporations at their annual AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans) convention in San Francisco on June 19.
We know these health insurance executives are some of the most powerful lobbyists in America, wielding significant influence inside Washington. But, as you know, Barack Obama and Howard Dean have courageously directed the Democratic National Committee to no longer accept contributions from lobbyists, including the health insurance industry.
You can take a stand as well by refusing to appear -- and refusing to take a speaking fee --- from the health insurance industry at the AHIP convention. [...]
No Democrat, least of all the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, should support these corporations by appearing on their stage, and no progressive should allow himself to be paid in blood money "earned" by withholding treatment from sick patients.
Hundreds of highly-compensated health insurance executives will be inside the Moscone Center on June 19, working to perfect business practices that reward employees for denying health care coverage to millions of Americans. Outside, the real faces of the American health care system -- nurses, doctors, patients and their friends and families -- will be protesting.
Come join us, Terry. Boycott the AHIP Convention and prove that you care more about patients and health care than you do about lobbyists and speaking fees.
Want to join the protest of AHIP up in San Francisco on June 19th? Information is at Calitics. And if you agree with Rick, join me in signing on to the letter to McAuliffe urging him not to appear at AHIP or take their money.