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Friday, October 9, 2009

Dole, a health-sector lobbyist, gets the statesman treatment

Former Sen. Bob Dole is being paid by health-care companies to support ObamaCare--and for this he is winning praise. My column tells the story:

Dole made news in Kansas City Wednesday by calling on his party to back Democratic health-care reform bills currently before Congress, calling health-care reform, "one of the most important measures members of Congress will vote on in their lifetimes."

The New York Times, the Associated Press, Salon, the Chicago Tribune, and the Kansas City Star reported Dole's comments, but all omitted a seemingly relevant fact: Dole is a registered lobbyist with clients who stand to profit from the current Senate reform bill.

Dole is a lobbyist at the downtown firm Alston & Bird, where his clients include the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. The Association pays Alston & Bird $30,000 per month to lobby Congress and the administration on "issues in health reform relating to home health & hospice," according to Alston Bird's second-quarter 2009 lobbying report.

In September, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., amended his reform bill to expand Medicaid funding for home health-care and to include hospice care--care for the dying--under Medicaid, as well. This accelerates the flow of taxpayer money to Dole's clients. Now Dole is rallying the public behind this "important measure," and winning praise for his "bipartisanship."

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