Take a quick glance at ObamaCare’s busted multimillion-dollar website and the 3.5 million health insurance cancelation notices hitting American mailboxes and you might be tempted to dub the whole thing a disaster. But it’s not -- at least not for the politically-connected crony companies and big money Obama fundraisers poaching your tax dollars to fix the debacle they helped create.
As CNBC recently put it: “Thanks to ObamaCare, the health-care industry is going to get a big makeover during the coming years and venture capitalists have wasted no time looking for ways to cash in.” Put simply, ObamaCare’s complexity and catastrophic rollout create rivers of cash for Obama’s cronies.
So who are some of the winners in the ObamaCare crony capitalist giveaway?
For those on the left who thought that ObamaCare would mean large health insurance companies might get their comeuppance, they might want to look at UnitedHealth. Wall Street analysts expect the giant to see its stock price rise 40 percent over the next two years, thanks to expanding profit margins. The company has also won big contracts to help implement the rollout. Quality Software Services, Inc., a major contractor for Healthcare.gov, is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth. One of President Obama’s most reliable fundraisers in both 2008 and 2012 was Anthony Welters, executive vice president of UnitedHealth. He raised more than $500,000 for the 2012 election, according to opensecrets.org
Another big ObamaCare winner is tech giant Qualcomm. In 2011, the company created a subsidiary called Qualcomm Life specifically designed to profit off ObamaCare changes. The company offers products to securely transfer data between wireless health care devices. Thanks to ObamaCare, company executives believe that “wireless solutions are going to be looked at more prominently.” Former Qualcomm Chairman Irwin Jacobs raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election in 2012.
Also poised to do well is Obama bundler David Friedman, founder of Sandy River Health Systems, which works in health care, nursing homes, and long-term care. Friedman raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election in 2012.
Obama bundlers who are private equity investors also stand to make a mint. Obama bundler Jay Snyder (he raised more than $500,000) heads up HBJ Investments, which was founded by his father. HBJ invests in health care medical companies and pharmaceuticals positioned to cash in on ObamaCare.
Vice President Al Gore and investor David Blood head up investment firm Generational Investment Management. The company may be known for backing green energy businesses, but earlier this year Generational Investment Management invested heavily in health care stocks -- a full 27 percent of the portfolio for Generation Investment Management LLP is made up of health care investments. Predictably, Gore and Blood’s firm is expected to cash in on ObamaCare. And, predictably, Blood bundled more than $500,000 for Obama in 2012.
Bundler Robert Pohlad (who bundled more than $500,000 for Obama in 2012) is the head of Pohlad Companies, which has a subsidiary called Arcadia Solutions, a software company that is selling software to hospitals and doctors affected by healthcare reform.
ObamaCare is also spurring a growing number of mergers among hospitals and other health care providers, according to The New York Times. As another paper notes, “Because of all the new regulations and changes to how hospitals are paid, look for more mergers and consolidation.” This creates opportunities for Wall Street dealmakers like Evercore Partners, which, in September, hired away Matthew McAskin from Goldman Sachs where he was the co-head of the Healthcare Services Investment Banking unit. In its announcement, Evercore noted that McAskin “has advised on a number of the most recent notable transactions in the hospital, managed care, HCIT, physician services and outsourced medical services subsectors” and that “health care represents one of the largest and most active industries for investment banking services.” Evercore boasted at least two big dollar bundlers for Obama, the most prominent bundler being Roger Altman, co-chair of the company, who bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama in 2012.
Another big Obama fundraiser who stands to profit from the ObamaCare debacle is Alexa Wesner of Austin Ventures. The investment firm has big stakes in Emerus Hospital Partners, LLC, ESO Solutions (which offers software to the health care industry), and Explorys, Inc., which hopes to leverage “big data” in the health care sphere. Wesner bundled over $500,000 for Obama in 2012
ObamaCare may be a disaster for the millions of Americans whose health insurance plans are being canceled, the millions of Americans who cannot use the government’s website, and the taxpayers forced to foot the bill for the boondoggle. But make no mistake -- at least one group of Americans loves ObamaCare: the president’s big money backers and cronies who stand to bag millions of your tax dollars amid the mess.
Peter Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute and the author of Clinton Cash (Harper Collins 2015).