Former Rep. Allyson Schwartz's new group, The Better Medicare Alliance, is not what it appears
By Wendell Potter
Center for Public Integrity, April 27, 2015
The health insurance industry took advantage of Washington’s infamous revolving door last week when it named former Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, perceived by many to be a liberal Democrat, as the face of its latest K Street-operated front group.
Schwartz, a former five-term member of Congress who made an unsuccessful bid for Pennsylvania governor last year, announced in an email blast Tuesday that she had found work again, not back home but back inside the Beltway. “Today I will begin as President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance,” she told her “friends and supporters.”
The Better Medicare Alliance is a so-called 501(c)(3) nonprofit that appears to have been created with funding from insurance companies by APCO Worldwide, a Washington influence firm with a long history of running front groups for its clients. I worked with APCO on several projects during my years at Cigna.
The Better Medicare Alliance’s raison d’etre is to widen the federal spigot of taxpayer dollars already gushing into the bank accounts of insurance companies that operate Medicare Advantage plans, those privately run alternatives to traditional Medicare. Enrollment is concentrated in a small number of companies, among the biggest of which are for-profit insurers UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna