Report: Lobbyists aided lawmakers with health care columns | KOB 4
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Report: Lobbyists aided lawmakers with health care columns


Updated: December 02, 2019 02:42 PM
Created: December 02, 2019 02:15 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lobbyists were involved in drafting or revising opinion columns about health care written by state lawmakers in Montana and Ohio, officials said.

Lobbyists were involved in producing the final versions of articles warning of the dangers of Medicare-for-all and other government involvement in health care, The Washington Post reported Monday.

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State Rep. Kathy Kelker and Sen. Jen Gross of Montana, both Democrats, said editorials they published separately about the single-payer health proposal included language provided by Montana lobbyist John MacDonald.

An aide to Republican state Sen. Steve Huffman of Ohio confirmed Huffman's opinion column criticizing Medicare-for-all was written with the help of Ohio-based lobbyist Kathleen DeLand.

None of the lawmakers' columns disclosed they were written with lobbyist assistance.

Information about lobbyist involvement in the articles was included in emails provided by advocacy group Medicare for All Now, which supports the single-payer system. The group obtained the documents through Freedom of Information Act requests.

MacDonald contacted Gross on behalf of the Partnership for America's Health Care Future, a multimillion-dollar industry group founded in 2018 and funded by hospitals, private insurers, drug companies, and other private health-care firms, Gross said.

Neither of the consultants who helped write the op-eds would confirm or deny whether they had been hired by the Partnership for America's Health Care Future.

MacDonald disclosed in private emails that he worked for an unnamed client, but in a phone interview said he could not provide client information.

DeLand's emails to Huffman's Ohio staff include the acronym "PAHCF" in a subject line. DeLand did not return requests for comment about whether she had been hired by the group.

The Partnership for America's Health Care Future has spent more than $1 million on television advertisements since August warning against Medicare-for-all and other changes to the health-care system, according to tracking data.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com


(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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