David Sirota is a well-known nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, author blogger and former Denver radio host. He is a man of the Left and friend of the Democratic Party here in Colorado and nationally. Recently he has begun to do investigative journalism for International Business Times and he has indicated he wants to do so on a non-partisan basis.
His recent work at the Times demonstrates that he is a man of his word. His exposé titled “Democratic Governor Hires Health Care Industry Lobbyist to Push Obamacare Fixes in Congress” rips off the façade off Governor Hickenlooper’s so called bipartisan health care proposal he trotted out with Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Sirota discloses that the governor has had the state pay the law/lobbyist firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck $17,500 a month purported for lobbying Congress, the Interior Department, the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency on “issues related to federal spending and national service programs,” whatever that means. In addition apparently the Brownstein firm was to lobby for the Governor’s proposed bandaids to Obamacare.
$17,500 per month is chump change for the Brownstein firm, but when you have hundreds of these scams it adds up. Especially since the Brownstein firm would have to do no additional work for the taxpayer money handed them by the Colorado governor. The Brownstein firm is already lobbying for dozens of insurance, pharmaceutical and health care interests to prevent a single payer system being adopted as proposed by some Democrats, or a free market system proposed by some Republicans. They love the present Obamacare system they helped devise just with more subsidies and tax incentives for themselves.
Hickenlooper and Kasich have gone on television and across the country to sanctimoniously assert that they had come up with a “bipartisan” solution to our health care woes when in fact they are little more than sellouts to Big Pharma and the health insurance companies. Their plan involves massive increased subsidies to the insurance companies and even large tax credits for them providing health plans to “underserved counties.” In addition it has the individual health care mandates forcing Americans to buy the awful health care plans the insurance companies presently provide for individuals.
The Denver Post breathlessly reported in its sub-headline for the release of the plan that “Hickenlooper and Kasich have been working on the blueprint behind the scenes for weeks.” Hickenlooper has degrees in English and geology while Kasich a degree in political science. Neither has the slightest background in the medical field and would have no idea how to redo the health insurance quagmire. But Big Pharma and the health insurers have lots of ideas on how to stick it to the average American.
Sirota’s article also helps explain the mystery of Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. After Joe Garcia resigned the lieutenant governor position to take a real job, Hickenlooper appointed Lynne claiming he did so because he wanted someone who 1) had business experience and 2) had no political aspirations. We know the second stated reason was a lie as Lynne has just declared she is running to be the next governor of Colorado. We know that it was not just any business experience that the governor was looking for, but someone who had extensive contacts with the health insurance and health provider fields, which could be an enormous benefit for him should he run for the U.S. Senate in 2020 or even President. Lynne was the head of Kaiser Permanente, the massive integrated managed care consortium in Colorado and various other states. And surprise surprise, according to Sirota, Lynne was key in drafting the Hickenlooper/Kasich bipartisan plan.
It is no secret that health companies and oil companies in Colorado are terrified of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis who wants single payer health care and no oil and gas fracking in the state. Notwithstanding the fact that Lynne has absolutely zero political experience or support, she is now running with the strong encouragement of Governor Hickenlooper. Why Lynne? Because with enough money and negative advertising she can soften up Polis for whatever Republican wins the other primary, who will undoubtedly not be for single payer and be for oil and gas fracking.
Which brings us to the Brownstein firm which is known as the “Octopus” since it has its tentacles virtually everywhere. Hickenlooper’s chief of staff is none other than Doug Friednash who was a partner in the Brownstein firm and who, according to Sirota, along with Lynne, strongly supported the $17,500 a month kickback to the Brownstein firm which would be considered illegal in many states but not apparently in Colorado.
One of the reasons it is not is that The Denver Post and the rest of the media in Colorado, with the exception of 710 KNUS radio, will never report on this scandal. Why? Well who is the lawyer for The Denver Post and many other media? None other than the Brownstein firm. The sewer runs deep in Colorado politics but most Coloradans will never find out about it and thus it is unlikely to ever change.
— Editorial Board