Friday, October 19, 2012

A.L.E.C. (Patti & the Poor) Pt.1

First published in August of 2012 in Pension Education

“To expand this program (Medicaid) is not unlike adding a thousand people to the Titanic…People come from all over the globe to the state of Texas for their Healthcare.”  -  Rick Perry on his refusal to accept additional Medicaid for Texas

“I have been forced to support the establishments I have mentioned through taxation and God knows they cost more than they’re worth…If they’d rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population.”  -  Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol  

A.L.E.C. (“Patti & the Poor”) Pt.1

Acronym – (American Legislative Exchange Council) ALEC is an assemblage of over 2000 legislative members and more than 300 corporate entities whose design and purpose is to seek direct access to politicians on the federal and state levels, provide forums and in-service on crafting “model” legislation, and expert/lobbyist assistance in creating or writing bills to take back to legislative capitols across the country.  Think Corporations Gone Wild.

According to ALEC Exposed, corporate members pay an annual fee of up to $25,000 to participate in ALEC’s agenda ( and additional sums for influential membership in a specific task forces)  while legislators are asked to donate only $50 to join the “not-for-profit” organization.  Additional funding arrives under such nominal cosmetics as grants: for example, $1.4 million from Exxon Corporation.   Not surprisingly, Koch Industries have a beginning and continuing heavy influence in the operation of ALEC. 

“ALEC’s appeal rests largely on the fact that legislators receive an all-expenses-paid trip that provides many part-time legislators with vacations that they could not afford on their own, along with the opportunity to rub shoulders with wealthy captains of industry [major prospective out-of-state donors to their political campaigns]”   ( ).  

Legislators’ entire families are invited and childcare is provided during after-session parties and cocktail gatherings.  One might imagine that lubricated shop talk would likely not include the benefits of collective bargaining; in fact, although ALEC describes itself as non-partisan, the leadership circle of over 100 politicians includes only one lone democrat – amidst such luminaries as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Rick Perry (see above quote), Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Jan Brewer, Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, the Koch brothers, and significant others. 

In Illinois, ALEC has another leadership circle working on the state and local level to effect legislation, which aims at supporting free markets, reducing the size of government, and promoting a conservative/corporate agenda. 

In fact, Illinois holds the distinction of having the ALEC State Representative of the year:  Representative Patricia “Patti” Bellock of the 47th district (Westmont Office).   A recent letter of congratulations from Republican House Leader Tom Cross – also a member of ALEC -  glowed with the kind of Orwellian political doublespeak  that sanitizes the actual undercutting of the medically needy or marginalized with positive parsing.   

Dear Friend,
Please join me in congratulating State Rep. Patti Bellock for being named “Legislator of the Year” by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for her extensive work on Medicaid reform. 
Rep. Bellock spent thousands of hours in meetings crafting Medicaid reforms that protected the most vulnerable while helping put our Medicaid system back on a path toward financial stability.  This was by no means an easy task.  All along the way, she faced strong resistance from many Democrats and interest groups who want to see Medicaid expanded, not reduced.   Once initial reforms were enacted into law, Bellock still had to fight to see commonsense measures like her recapture audit and residency verification implemented.  Rep. Bellock is still leading the fight to ensure implementation of all the reforms we have passed and is working with staff to craft additional Medicaid Reform measures
I remember several times this session when Rep. Bellock came into my office and said, ‘I think now is the time that we need to push for more reforms, this is our opportunity to push as hard as we can.’  And in each and every meeting she had with me, our staff and with the working group, she would bring more reforms and cuts for consideration.  I truly believe without our team member, Patti Bellock, at the table the Medicaid package would have been so much weaker than then what was signed into law.
Rep. Bellock was recognized for her efforts at ALEC’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah this past Friday.   She was nominated by several of her colleagues for this prestigious national award. Patti Bellock is highly deserving of this recognition and we should all be proud of her, her past accomplishments, and those still to come.   
Tom Cross
House Republican Leader
State Representative, 84th District

And what better individual to sit upon the committee to design the necessary cuts in Medicaid for the State of Illinois’ fiscal health (irony there, eh?) – after all, Rep. Bellock sits on the ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force.  And besides Bellock, ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force includes many corporate parties supposedly interested in what’s best for all of us needing health services.  I’ve randomly selected only 8 of 40 corporate members provided to help and assist curious legislators.  For the entire list, please feel free to seek out their records on healthcare work – especially for the poor ( ).  

CIBA-GEIGY – Investigative reporters blew the whistle on chemical companies like this in 1980’ for offloading excess chemicals banned in Europe or the U.S. (

Solvay Pharmaceutical -  class action suits for changing/limiting pension plan benefits (

Hoffman-LaRouche – the company that brought us Accutane and consequent injury lawsuits (

Council for Affordable Health Insurance – shifting the lowering costs of public patients to higher costs for private patients with Medicaid billing changes(

Travelers Companies – seeks mandatory binding arbitration agreements with its workers /purchasers to avoid court settlements (

 Schering-Plough (Merck) – who gave us Vioxx and a $950 M settlement – still ongoing (

Parke-Davis – Successfully sued for the marketing of an anti-convulsant named Neurontin , given by company to medical staff for uses unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration ( ).

Upjohn – instrumental in the development of a deadly drug (Panalba), later forced off the US market and still sold by the company in 33 countries under another name (

PART 2: A closer look at how ALEC award recipient Representative Patricia Bellock and others “protected the vulnerable” in their providing financial stability for Medicaid. 
Remember, they believe your pensions need financial stabilizing too. 

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