Obama Campaign Contributors Being Asked To Donate to Effort Supporting Health Care Reform
The Washington Times on Friday examined how President Obama's "former campaign apparatus is cranking up a full-tilt drive for passage of a health care overhaul this year" by "tapping his 13-million-strong e-mail list" for financial contributions to fund advertising efforts, hire staff and open election-style offices. The group -- launched in January as Organizing for America, or OFA2, a unit under the Democratic National Committee -- sent supporters an e-mail this week asking them for their time and money to fight "special interest lobbyists and partisan ideologues" that might attempt to "water down" health care reform. Mitch Stewart, the group's executive director, wrote that contributions would be used to organize "local educational events" and to "bring constituent voices straight to Congress, and make sure real life stories are heard louder than the lobbyists' spin" (Bellantoni, Washington Times, 5/15).
Single-Payer System Not on Table, Obama Says
Obama on Thursday said that a single-payer system will not be a consideration in efforts for health reform because the main objective is to improve the current employer-based health care system, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. Speaking at a town-hall meeting in New Mexico, he acknowledged that a single-payer plan would be the ideal approach if he had to re-develop the health care system, but he said that many people already are satisfied with the existing system that involves private insurers (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 5/15). "It may not have everything I want in there or everything you want in there, but it will be a vast improvement over what we currently have," Obama told attendees (Washington Times, 5/15).
Lilly Executive Reiterates Stance Against Public Plan
Eli Lilly President and CEO John Lechleiter on Thursday restated his opposition to a public plan as part of health reform efforts, saying such a system would restrict innovation of new, more effective forms of treatments and medical technologies, the Indianapolis Star reports. In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Lechleiter recalled some of the arguments he made in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece (Russell/Groppe, Indianapolis Star, 5/15). He said, "There is simply no example, worldwide, of a robust private health insurance market co-existing with a government plan that's open to all." He noted that his company's three priorities for health reform include open access to health care markets, market-based drug pricing that is "undistorted by government interventions" and regulations preserving intellectual property for biologic drugs (Hunt, CongressDaily, 5/15).