Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And to Think Doctors Have Conflicts...

We've heard so much about Congress investigating the conflicts of interest between doctors and the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, but is any one asking about the conflicts of the senatorial "Board of Directors" in directing health care policy?

This morning for the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, I was suprised to see one name in particular on the Health Care team standing in for Edward Kennedy: Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn).

For those unfamiliar, Senator Dodd is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs who reports the following income sources:

Earned income: $165,200
Honoraria (all donated to charity): None
Major assets: Credit union, bank account and money market fund worth $31,003-$115,000; cottage in County Galway, Ireland, worth $100,001-$250,000. (here's a picture)
Major sources of unearned income: Rental income on Ireland cottage, $5,001-$15,000.
Major liabilities: Mortgage on Ireland cottage, $100,001-$250,000.
Narrative: According to their tax returns, Dodd and his wife, Jackie, had a combined income of $719,064.

Besides Dodd's salary, the amount includes director fees his wife earned for sitting on the boards of Blockbuster Inc., Cardiome Pharma Corp., the Chicago Board of Trade, Javelin Pharmaceuticals, Broodale Senior Living and Legacy Partners Group LCC.

His wife has money market funds, IRAs, stocks in companies including Blockbuster Inc. and stock options in Cardiome Pharma Corp. and Javelin Pharmaceutical Corp. worth $1.37 million-$3 million; she has land in Wasatch, Utah, worth $15,001-$50,000.

And we wonder why doctors and their patients are cynical about meaningful health care reform...

-Wes

h/t: Instapundit

3 comments:

Keith Sarpolis said...

Wes,

Great investigative journalism and excellent point. Congress points the finger at everyone else, but fails to take a good look in the mirror. We are clearly influenced by drug reps giving us pens, but they are wined and dined by lobbyists with absolutely no conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, doc. Dodd is a slimy SOB and needs to get gone, quickly.


Incidentally, does anyone know why all of the "posts linking to this post" are in Chinese? I see that a lot on this site. Weird!

Sallie said...

My first trip to your blog, and I'll be back..

I worked in Public Accounting (e.g. Auditing) for ten years, and our conflict of interest policies and required certifications were so strict, you couldn't grandfather a $10,000 car loan with a potential client without permission.

The technology (and quarterly certifications) we are required to maintain in order to prevent a conflict is remarkably more sophisticated than this...

And yet, Congress is the first to jump on board whenever a company has financial difficulty.

As they told us constantly - it's not that hard to get a system in place...so why aren't they doing it??