23 Nov Thompson uses clout in health debate
Washington — Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is crisscrossing the country giving speeches, appearing on cable news shows and writing opinion pieces – all in an attempt to influence the national debate on health care reform.
His message: that the health care system needs a major overhaul, that 80% of what’s in the current health care proposals is stuff everyone can agree on and that the country needs to pay more attention to wellness, disease prevention and chronic illness.
Thompson, who served as health and human services secretary under President George W. Bush, is also busy working behind the scenes, advising health care clients and his own health care firms on what’s in store for them as reform efforts move through Congress.
His dual role in the debate – as a former Cabinet official speaking out on the legislation and as a private citizen with a financial stake in the health care proposals – elicits criticism from government watchdogs who argue that Thompson is using his public profile to benefit his private interests.
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