Saturday, June 17, 2006

Governor's health care advisor is lap dog for special interests

Former State Representative Jodi Stefanick sternly lectures the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a letter to the editor in today's edition for what she calls errors in one of its editorials.
It is hard to take Ms. Stefanick, who is now a senior policy advisor to Governor Matt Blunt on healthcare issues, when her past record shows more of a concern for the healthcare industry than for patients. I first addressed Ms. Stefanick's conflict of interest in the Aug. 24, 2005, Turner Report, shortly after her appointment to her current position:

Matt Blunt's decision to appoint Rep. Jodi Stefanick, R-Ballwin, as his senior health care policy advisor is yet another gift to the health and insurance special interests that shaped so much of the 2005 legislation.
Ms. Stefanick's campaign coffers were filled with special interest money from doctors and health care and insurance companies...and, of course, she donated $1,200, the maximum allowed under state law, from that campaign money to Blunt's campaign.
In her last few days as a legislator, Ms. Stefanick went out in style, accepting nearly $400 in money from health care lobbyist James R. Moody in June, well after the 2005 legislative session had concluded, according to Missouri Ethics Commission documents.
Moody's report indicates that he spent $368.40 on June 15 for travel for Ms. Stefanick, while representing Schaller Anderson, a national health care management and consulting company. It is not clear from the online Ethics Commission documents who Moody was representing when he paid $25 for meals, food and beverage for Ms. Stefanick on June 28, but it was either for Family Health Partners or Missouri Care.
Ms. Stefanick's campaign finance disclosure forms for 2004 cement her reputation as a handmaiden for the health care special interests. While she was played a well-recognized role as a chief architect of the Medicaid Reform plan and voted for so-called reforms that helped pad the pockets of the medical and insurance interests, Ms. Stefanick supplied more than two-thirds of her campaign funds with money from the same people.
Her campaign committee's October 2004 quarterly report shows that she received at least $8,350 from health-related interests during the three-month period, including:
Missouri Hospital Association PAC for Health, $300; Missouri Hospital Association Southeast District PAC, $300; Missouri Hospital Association St. Louis District PAC, $300; Midwest Radiological Associates PC, $300; Missouri Medical PAC, $300; Missouri Association of Health Plan, $200; Dr. Jeffrey Thomasson, $300; Professional Athletic Rehab Center, $250; Michael Neidorff, chairman of Centere Corporation, $300; Golden Rule Insurance Company, $300; West County Radiological Group, Inc., $300; Dr. Charles Fuszner, $300; American Family Insurance, $300; SSM Health Care, $300; Devereaux Chiropractic and Acupuncture, $75; Jim Moody (lobbyist) and Associates, $300; The Affton LeMay Chiropractic Center, $100; Dr. Donna Manello, $100; Eric Fink, Missouri Assisted Living Association, $300; Missouri Podiatry PAC, $300; someone listed as Dr. Crosby, $100; West County Care Center, $300; Missouri Insurance Coalition, $200; Whispering Lane Health Care Center, $300; Firsthand Health Center, $100; Deanna Mueller, therapist, $100; Gerald Grimaldi, Truman Medical Center, $100; Doral Dental USA, $300; Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center, $100; Midwest Imaging and Prevention, $100; Metro Heart Group of St. Louis, $300; Group Health Plan, $300; Donna Checkett, listed in one news story as director of Missouri Division of Medical Services, which administers the state Medicaid program, $200; Dr. Joan Pernaud, $150; Midwest Cardiovascular Center, $100; Abbel Chiropractic Arts, $75; Missouri Dental Hygienists PAC, $300.
Another huge batch of health-related donors kicked in to Ms. Stefanick's campaign in the second quarter of 2004, according to her committee's quarterly report. Among those listed:
Balanced Care for Women of St. Louis, $300; Eric Fink, Missouri Assisted Living Association, $300; Health Care Association Missouri Good Government Fund, $300; Health Care Leadership Committee State Account, $300; Joan Pernoud, $200; MD Pharmacy, Inc., $300; Missouri Orthopaedic Sports and Trauma Clinic, $300; Missouri Residential Care Services, Inc., $100; Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists PAC, $300; MOPLAN Missouri Psychologists, $300; Missouri Physical Therapy Association PAC, $100; Pharmacy Solutions, Inc., $300; United Healthcare Corp $150; and Whispering Oaks Health Care Center, Inc., $300.
Three hundred dollars, of course, was the maximum that could be contributed to state representative campaigns under Missouri law.
Even during the first quarter of 2004, before the campaigns really kicked in, Ms. Stefanick's campaign was already depositing checks from health care interests, according to the campaign disclosure form, including $300 from Sunrise Senior Living Services, $300 from Physicians for Sound Health Care Policy, $300 from Johnson and Johnson, and $200 from the Missouri Physical Therapists Association.
It should be remembered that while Ms. Stefanick was working to cut thousands off the Medicaid rolls, she was also helping pass and craft legislation which enriched those people who supplied the bulk of her campaign finances.


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Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I am recommending to all my friends that they cut & copy it and show it to all their physicians and healthcare providers with their thorough objections to this kind of behavior in an appointed (bought & paid for) official.

That is, if you don't object.:)

Patricia M. Berg

Randy said...

No problem.