Why former Sen. Daschle is on UnitedHealth’s payroll

UnitedHealth Group has been vilified by progressives for its role in opposing various health-reform proposals supported by the left.

So why is former Democratic Sen. and Obama ally Tom Daschle working as a paid adviser to UnitedHealth? Daschle explained in a Q&A published in this week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine:

On the left there are those who say that you should never talk to people who differ with you on a high-profile issue. My question to the left would be, whom would they advise these insurance companies talk to? Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin? That’s the alternative. They can talk to Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, or they can talk to me.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Michael Friedman on 09/01/2009 - 02:25 pm.

    The Democrats support of mandates is very much in United Health’s interest. If single payer is excluded from consideration, or if the “public option” is not a true threat to drive out profiteering insurers that contribute nothing to actual care, then United Health wins lots of new business under any “reform” that includes mandates. While a single payer supporter, I appreciate conservatives and libertarians who denounce government plans to require purchase of a private market product.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/01/2009 - 02:44 pm.

    Tom Daschle has apparently made a fortune as a well-paid speaker to groups of insurance company management and marketing personnel.

    He is not a lobbyist, he says, but an advocate for the insurance industry.

    Well, Tom, it shows in your (and other Blue Dog Dems’) apparent ability to convince Obama that a Medicare for All plan would be politically impossible. Even though over 65 percent of VOTERS and over 60 percent of doctors would prefer it.

  3. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 09/01/2009 - 04:04 pm.

    This is why many on the left were opposed to Daschle for Secretary of health. It would be one thing if UnitedHealth just talked to him, but putting him on the payroll is hardly the same thing. He thinks they don’t talk to Beck and Palin already? Wow.

  4. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 09/07/2009 - 12:59 pm.

    Being on the payroll of an insurance company should have disqualified Tom Daschle (a weak and ineffective Speaker of the House if there ever was one) from any Cabinet position, most of all one involved in health care.

    That is a huge conflict of interest.

    I voted for Obama, but only reluctantly, because I always saw through his “progressive populist” act. However, I never imagined that he would be so entwined with corporate interests.

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