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2001-03-09

Bush Nominates Key Hospital Industry Lobbyist and the Health of America’s Medical System

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Thomas A. Scully, President Bush’s leading candidate to run Medicare and Medicaid, is lobbyist for the hospital industry and director ofa managed care company. This is Scully’s second swing through the revolving door between business and government. After working inPresident George Bush, Senior’s administration, he rejoined the private sector as director of Oxford Health Plans and became president ofthe Federation of American Hospitals, a trade group for 1,700 investor-owned hospitals.

If he is approved by Congress, Scully would head the Health Care Financing Administration, the unit of the Department of Health and HumanServices that runs Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He would become chief salesman for President Bush’sproposals to overhaul Medicare, add prescription drug benefits and increase the role of private health plans in caring for the elderly.Medicare and Medicaid provide health care to more than 70 million Americans.

The job is one of the most powerful in American medicine. The agency regulates health care providers of all types: doctors, hospitals,nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, home care companies and laboratories. HCFA influences private insurance companies, whichoften follow Medicare’s example in deciding how to pay for services.

Guest:

  • Steffie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a founder of Physicians of a NationalHealth Program.

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