WaPo: WH held investor talks on ObamaCare

posted at 10:01 am on May 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Political intelligence sounds like an oxymoron, and … well, okay, it is, but it’s also a buzzword these days for insider trading in an increasingly government-dominated economy.  Erika wrote about it in January, and crusaders have focused mainly on Congress since then for reform ideas, even though no one’s really sure what to reform. Over the weekend, the Washington Post revealed that the White House has also tried to generate a little political intelligence of its own to benefit its ObamaCare efforts — and investors who cheerlead for it:

Wall Street investors hungry for advance information on upcoming federal health-care decisions repeatedly held private discussions with Obama administration officials, including a top White House adviser helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.

The private conversations show that the increasingly urgent race to acquire“political intelligence” goes beyond the communications with congressional staffers that have become the focus of heightened scrutiny in recent weeks.

White House records show that Elizabeth Fowler, then a top ­health-policy adviser to President Obama, met with executives from half a dozen investment firms in 2011 and 2012. Among them was Kris Jenner, a stock picker with T. Rowe Price Investment Services who managed its $6 billion Health Sciences Fund.

Separately, an officialin the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid spoke in December with managers of hedge funds, pension plans and mutual funds in a conference call. The official, Andrew Shin, was pressed during the 50-minute call for information about upcoming Medicare decisions but declined to discuss matters still under agency review, according to people familiar with the call.

That call and the White House meetings Fowler attended were arranged by political-intelligence firms, an expanding class of consultants in Washington that specialize in providing government information to Wall Street.

Is there anything illegal about this?  It’s hard to say what it might be.  The White House responded that they’re happy to meet with any group to talk about their already-public regulatory actions and strategies for implementing policies, and that they didn’t share any non-public data.  The first part of that assertion is probably not true — I doubt they’d be happy to meet with FreedomWorks, for example — and the latter part isn’t really testable.  It seems unlikely that there are many secrets left in the administration’s rollout of ObamaCare, though, and the meeting probably had more impact on the political intelligence firms’ profile than on investor choices.

The reason these firms are flourishing, though, isn’t because of this Congress or the specific people in this administration.  It’s because government increasingly directs the economy, and investors who want to know where to put their money increasingly have to look to Washington rather than the fundamentals of their investments.  If we want to get rid of “political intelligence” and Beltway-based insider trading, then we need to get government out of the capital-investment and social-engineering industries.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

One word.

RICO.

[Unfortunately, the capo tutti capo currently resides in the White House.]

coldwarrior on May 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM

The lawlessness of this administration is truly shocking.

ramesees on May 28, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Is there anything illegal about this?

Inasmuch as it redounds to the financial benefit of the people who write and enforce the laws, I’m gonna guess “no”.

Fabozz on May 28, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Bush!

Good Lt on May 28, 2013 at 10:05 AM

“Of the few, by the few, and for the few.”

Akzed on May 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Can never get enough of the Pony tailed doctor picture. Caricature of what a liberal should look like. Anyone know if the guy was really a doctor or he just happened to be walking by when they were handing out doctor looking coats?

dirtseller on May 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Among them was Kris Jenner, a stock picker with T. Rowe Price Investment Services who managed its $6 billion Health Sciences Fund.

ROFL at you leftist jackwads who voted for the Prig in Chief not once but twice, Dog Eater is bending you over so often these days that your spines will never go back to normal.

Hope and Change and inviting 1%’ers in to the White House for a little advanced insider trading.

ROFL again.

Bishop on May 28, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Silly Ed.

A system of “social justice” requires a “social-engineering industry” as its foundation.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Obviously Conservative Talk Radio is at fault…

workingclass artist on May 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

It would be illegal under a gop administration
Now…..meh

cmsinaz on May 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

dirtseller on May 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM

If I recall, at the time, Dr. Dre had a previous engagement…

coldwarrior on May 28, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Is there anything illegal about this? It’s hard to say what it might be.

Nothing is illegal in the Obama administration. Except questioning it.

THAT’S illegal.

Gatsu on May 28, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Most Transparent Administration Thugocracy Evah!

ShainS on May 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Nothing is illegal in the Obama administration. Except questioning it.

THAT’S illegal.
Gatsu on May 28, 2013 at 10:22 AM

+1

Bitter Clinger on May 28, 2013 at 10:35 AM

When are we going to start hearing the Democrat Party referred to as “culture of corruption”?

Tater Salad on May 28, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Ed –
As you ponder yet another hypothetical theory,
might this bit of factual news get any coverage here?

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

How do you invest when the government is picking the winners and losers in the economy?

It’s an irony that the OWS crowd has no problem with Preezy holding court with the 1% crowd, telling them how to make money on his next moves.

goflyers on May 28, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Corruption, on steroids.

AZCoyote on May 28, 2013 at 10:46 AM

When are we going to start hearing the Democrat Party referred to as “culture of corruption”?

Tater Salad on May 28, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Don’t do that–they’ll get even more votes from the willingly corrupt voters of America.

Don L on May 28, 2013 at 11:03 AM

acquire“political intelligence”

…what’s with the oxymoron?

KOOLAID2 on May 28, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Here’s an idea. Get a gaggle of Ozero supporters together, have them incorporate, give them a $560 million federal loan. Then they ‘invest’ in Obozo Care. Then, they can skim a bit off the top, default on the loan, walk away from it.

Everybody wins!!!

Wait, has this already been done?

BigWyo on May 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Ed –
As you ponder yet another hypothetical theory,
might this bit of factual news get any coverage here?

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

That’s just wonderful. Now, just what are all those newly insured Californians going to do with their oh-so-reasonably-priced insurance when they can’t get a doctor’s…er…Nurse Practitioner appointment for three to four months?

Maybe they can all go see the ponytailed imposter who was cheering Obutthead.

NOMOBO on May 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Is there anything illegal about this? It’s hard to say what it might be. The White House responded that they’re happy to meet with any group to talk about their already-public regulatory actions and strategies for implementing policies, and that they didn’t share any non-public data.

I don’t know if there are laws specifically targeting this, but I’m finding it hard to believe the SEC wouldn’t consider it insider trading. If only certain people have access to the information — for whatever reason — then it should be considered insider trading to use that information in the stock market.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 28, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Ed –
As you ponder yet another hypothetical theory,
might this bit of factual news get any coverage here?

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Let me guess. You’ve been handed talking points about the case, but you can’t make any money posting them if someone doesn’t put them on Hot Air…..

I can see how that would be frustrating.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM

That’s just wonderful. Now, just what are all those newly insured Californians going to do with their oh-so-reasonably-priced insurance when they can’t get a doctor’s…er…Nurse Practitioner appointment for three to four months?

Maybe they can all go see the ponytailed imposter who was cheering Obutthead.

NOMOBO on May 28, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Your complaint is that this is just too many people to have insured…and to have access to healthcare?
Boy, sure hope this all doesn’t inconvenience you too much.

(And then of course your other complaint is that some guy had a ponytail.)

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Let me guess. You’ve been handed talking points about the case, but you can’t make any money posting them if someone doesn’t put them on Hot Air…..

I can see how that would be frustrating.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM

George Soros said I would have the talking points by 6am. But they didn’t arrive until after 8!

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM

The only thing to save our healthcare system in the US is what I saw on FoxNews this morning. Here in Georgia, there are two hospital systems (Wellstar & Piedmont) who are going to do a test run on offering a hospital insurance plan. It will first be rolled out to the employees of the respective hospital systems. If, it’s a success, they will offer the same to private citizens.

The CEO of Wellstar said that right now insurance companies reward hospitals on the procedures they perform instead of the outcome. This new insurance plan will reward on the outcome.

A UGA professor also said (in so many words) this is the way to go to save our healthcare system.

moonsbreath on May 28, 2013 at 1:03 PM

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

No, verbaluce, I am concerned that putting so many people on the healthcare rolls all at once is going to affect *everyone* in a negative way. Couple that with the pain that Obamacare heaps on the healthcare industry, particularly doctors, it’s not a wonder why so many doctors are leaving practice.

Obamacare is at the same time a very clever way of expanding the government and a very clumsy and poorly crafted way of getting healthcare to the currently uninsured.

You can drink water by elegantly sipping it out of a cup, or you can drink it by smashing the bottle and licking the spilled water off of the floor. Which way do you think is analagous to Obamacare?

NOMOBO on May 28, 2013 at 1:09 PM

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

My complaint is that once again you missed the major point.

Schadenfreude on May 28, 2013 at 1:32 PM

The CEO of Wellstar said that right now insurance companies reward hospitals on the procedures they perform instead of the outcome. This new insurance plan will reward on the outcome.

A UGA professor also said (in so many words) this is the way to go to save our healthcare system.

moonsbreath on May 28, 2013 at 1:03 PM

So, if you are a 75 year old diabetic and need a kidney transplant you’re out of luck because in that circumstance the procedure has a lower liklihood of positive outcome than not.

The dangers of compensating doctors on outcome are enormous. How many tricky neurosurgeries do you think will be performed if a positive outcome is only acheived 40% of the time, even though the alternative would be to let the patient die? Outcome based compensation for doctors is just a very short step away from death panels.

NOMOBO on May 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM

verbaluce on May 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

My complaint is that once again you missed the major point.

Schadenfreude on May 28, 2013 at 1:32 PM

…tough to do when you have no brain!

KOOLAID2 on May 28, 2013 at 9:34 PM