By Alec MacGillis
Truthout, Aug. 16, 2015
When the former head of the U.S. government’s health insurance programs was hired in July to run a lobby that had spent tens of millions of dollars trying to derail Obamacare, it was more than just another spin of Washington’s revolving door.
Marilyn Tavenner, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, became chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main lobbying group, which is known as AHIP. As the latest of a half-dozen prominent architects and overseers of Obamacare to move into the health industry, her move signified growing ties between health insurers and Democrats despite battles over the Affordable Care Act.
The relationship has long been marked by ambivalence and tension. Tavenner’s predecessor at AHIP, Karen Ignagni, was a former Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill, but the insurance lobby led the way in defeating the Clinton health coverage plan in 1993 and secretly spent about $100 million to attack Obamacare even as it negotiated to make it palatable to the industry. More recently, as the law added millions to the insurance rolls and generated big profits for many companies, they have turned to defending it.
The connections may continue or strengthen if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and the presidency. That’s because a Washington firm called the Dewey Square Group, which is closely identified with the Clinton campaign, was at the center of the industry’s efforts to win influence among Democrats — at a time when the two sides were sharply opposed.
Full story: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32352-insurance-lobby-that-fought-hillarycare-and-obamacare-now-has-sturdy-bridges-to-democrats#
Alec MacGillis covers politics for ProPublica.