Grassley’s “health care plan”

At a recent town hall meeting, a constituent asked Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley about health care, “How come I can’t have the same thing you have?” His response? “You can! Go work for the federal government!” You can check out the entire exchange here.

While getting a job with the federal government won’t solve health care problems for most ordinary Americans, it is a career path many health insurance lobbyists take. Employment with the federal government is a great way to be recruited by top lobbying firms later in life. We did a little digging and found quite a few health care lobbyists who have started their careers working in Grassley’s office.

Take Ed Redfern. After serving as a special assistant to Grassley for six years, he went on to lobby for a number of health care companies, among them HCA, Inc., one of the largest for-profit health care companies in the country. HCA was formerly owned and led by Rick Scott, the money behind Conservatives for Patients Rights, a pro-privatized health care advocacy group.

Then there’s Colette Desmarais, who used her position as Grassley’s top health policy aid to launch her career with Mehlman, Vogel & Castagenetti where she lobbies for organizations like AHIP.

Finally, there’s Monica Tencate, who since leaving Grassley’s office has gone on to work for two health care consulting companies, Health Policy Source and Strategic Health Solutions. This year alone, she has lobbied on behalf of over 12 health care companies.

Grassley’s flippant health care solution begs the question: will his office ever be more than a launching pad for lucrative careers with the health care industry?

It seems these days that working for the federal government gives you a lot more than great health insurance.