The House passed historic comprehensive health insurance reform on Saturday with the help of endorsements from hundreds of community organizations, including the American Medical Association. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that former AMA president Donald Palmisano is leading an effort to force the AMA to rescind its endorsement of the bill. As ThinkProgress first reported back in July, Palmisano’s organization Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights is being managed by the infamous lobbying firm known as DCI Group, which specializes in creating “credible coalition partners” to advance the interests of corporations. ThinkProgress’ Victor Zapanta caught up with Palmisano, who told us he supports the “patient-doctor relationship” where uninsured patients and patients who cannot afford care should simply beg for charity:
PALMISANO: If you have a problem, you would just say ‘look I have a financial problem, can you help me’ and doctors will help you. If somebody couldn’t pay, we just send them a note, ‘you haven’t paid, is there a reason you can’t pay?’ All they have to do is give us any reason and we just wrote off the bill, forgot the bill. That’s what doctors do.
DCI Group, in addition to its record of setting up “Smokers’ Rights” fronts for tobacco companies, has worked closely the private health insurance industry in the past to thwart legislation to improve the health care system. Additionally, Palmisano has been working closely with Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who are most interested in torpedoing health reform to score political points.