Eileen Brady Insists Healthcare Contributions Won’t Influence Her Decisions

As a candidate for mayor of Portland, Brady has picked up significant contributions from Regence BlueCross BlueShield and leading healthcare executives
The Lund Report

February 14, 2012 -- Money talks – particularly in the million dollar race that Eileen Brady is waging to become the next mayor of Portland. Brady, who had raised $566,568 as of February 13, is well on her way to meeting that goal. By then, her competitors – Charlie Hales had raised $333,666 and Jefferson Smith, $220,113.

But Brady’s the only candidate who’s received a significant amount of money from the healthcare industry -- $42,630 – according to an earlier report in Willamette Week. None of those donors have supported her competitors, according to Orestar, the website run by Oregon’s Secretary of State.

In an interview with The Lund Report, Brady insisted that if elected mayor, her healthcare decisions would be based on how to bring the most cost-effective, high quality and accessible healthcare to everyone in Portland, “not on where my campaign contributions came from.”

“And to put the numbers from Willamette Week in perspective,” she said, “only 8 percent of my campaign contributions have come from the healthcare world, compared to the 92 percent from elsewhere.

“As the former vice chair of the Oregon Health Fund Board, I helped bring hospitals, doctors, labor, business and community activists together to develop the Oregon's Healthy Kids program, which expanded healthcare to 94,000 Oregon kids. I will bring this same strong leadership on healthcare to City Hall - an approach of getting all the key stakeholders to work together to lower cost, increase quality and expand access. “

Among the healthcare industry, FamilyCare gave Brady the largest contribution, $10,000 while the political action committee run by Regence BlueCross BlueShield donated $5,000.

Brady’s also managed to attract campaign funds from some of the leading healthcare executives in Portland, none of whom contributed to her competitors, including:

  • Jared Short, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon ($500)

  • Dave Ford, CEO of CareOregon ($1,000)

  • Jack Friedman, CEO of Providence Health Plans ($500)

  • Jeff Heatherington, CEO of FamilyCare ($1,000)

  • Bart McMullan, former president of Regence who’s on the board of Salem Health ($1,000)

  • Dr. Joe Robertson, president of Oregon Health & Science University ($1,500)

  • Andy Davidson, president of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems ($500)

  • Martin Taylor, director of public policy and member centricity at CareOregon ($894), and

  • Denise Honzel, executive director of the Oregon Health Leadership Council ($500).

Brady also has high hopes for the movement to create coordinated care organizations that’s expected to integrate physical, mental and dental care for about 600,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan and reduce costs by focusing on primary care medical homes and fewer hospital admissions.

She envisions that movement spreading to state, city and county employees and, eventually, the commercial sector.

“As mayor, I will certainly be a very strong proponent of having our city becoming a lead player in the coordinated care organization structure,” she said. “We have to go from our fee for service system to an outcomes based model. We have to make sure we have a fair and equitable system and get better healthcare outcomes.

“I want this city to be the best city in the country where small businesses can grow; one thing that can help is by having reduced healthcare costs,” she added. “Great cities are ultimately measured on their ability to care for and help the most vulnerable. From a healthcare perspective, we all know that to have a strong system we need to have everyone in the boat, and a work force that matches the people you’re serving. Right now our employees are leaving dollars on the table, and those dollars are going into their benefit package. I want to change that.”

As a member of the Oregon Health Policy Board the past four years, Brady believes the lessons she learned will be extraordinarily useful in other aspects of public policy.

“It gave me an important glimpse into how we measure health and how it really contributes to the population health of the community,” she said.

Brady also intends to bring the concept of a global budget – a fixed amount of dollars – to other aspects of city government such as public safety. “If we had more of a global budget and outcomes based approach, we could have a more targeted and effective public program,” she said.

Dealing with mental health issues, Brady believes the lack of such services is driving many of the problems with the city’s public safety system.

“As mayor, there are two things I will do to take on this problem,” she said. “First, I will work with the police bureau to create a mental health unit specifically trained to respond to crises calls. Second, I will work directly with the county to develop a joint public safety budget and will get more money into vital mental health services. A joint budget will take a holistic approach to community safety by coordinating upstream programs for reducing and preventing crime, mental health intervention, probation, the court system, neighborhood watch, as well as community policing and incident response.”

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Comments

Bought and paid for by the Health Insurance Industry -- really she thinks that we will believe her: "her healthcare decisions would be based on how to bring the most cost-effective, high quality and accessible healthcare to everyone in Portland, “not on where my campaign contributions came from.” These days it is so sad to see so many politicians make these kind of absurd comments - tell us another one : (

Dave Ford and Jeff Heatherington? I would say it's more accurate that they donated excess funds from reserves from CareOregon and Family Care that should be going back to the taxpayers- NOT to some flavor of the month politician.

Medicines that people pay for out of pocket are often less associated with high cost and side effects than conventional medicine. Not everyone will choose naturopathy over conventional medicine. That is a good thing that bodes well for fixing bottlenecks in care. Beliefs and trust affect outcomes, as does worry about cost. Belief, trust, and cost incentivize the use of time-tested ways of health care from long-lived cultures. Having stood up too fast from gym equipment and fainted dead away, waking up in the ER, I now stand up slowly, one vertebral bone at a time, as yoga recommends, but as our fast-paced lifestyles often don't encourage. Conventional practitioners can cooperate to widen the bottlenecks we now have with closed primary-care practices. We can let those who want to cooperate do so in a cost-efficiently, for example, by cooperating with clinics already widely available in Portland neighborhoods. We can widen the availability of acupuncture for arthritis care and for mental-health care. For those for whom this works, there are fewer side effects, and fewer or no visits to conventional care would constitute savings for the system as a whole. My M.D. went for acupuncture training so he could reduce or stop the use of medications. As people age, their ability to tolerate medication changes. Risks and costs can go up. People who want conventional medicine only will be able to see someone of their choice faster if the path to get there is less cluttered with those who would go elsewhere for less cost if it were available. The present system is hobbled by coercion and practices from a legacy that is broken. In that legacy, patients were more patient than they are presently. If we can deal with these challenges in Oregon, we will be on the map for other parts of the country that want to problem-solve constructively and to honor the choices of individual persons. I learned at an Occupy-Health workshop that a significant percentage of returning Oregon National Guard will not sign up with official veterans' services, and that a volunteer group is stepping up to help. We need to make law consistent with letting neighbors help neighbors and letting individuals have a wide choice in how they want to take responsibility for health. I like the notion of islandable micro-grids in energy, and I like the idea of it for health care as well. Every time I visit somebody in one of those huge concrete hospital bunkers, surrounded by parking lots and parking buildings, I think of this.

The records from the Oregon Secretary of State's office show that Jeff Heatherington and Dave Ford made personal contributions to Eileen Brady's campaign and that FamilyCare did make a $10,000 contribution but that CareOregon did not make a similar contribution. I believe those records are accurate. Diane Lund-Muzikant Editor The Lund Report

Eileen Brady is a 1% in 99% clothing, unless you are a millionaire don't vote for this lady in waiting. She is anti-union and will screw you after she is sworn into the Mayor's office. What we need is someone who will get up everyday and say, "How can I help those who needed it the most" not someone who will get up and count her money. Stop voting against your own best interest! As a good friend of mine use to say. Joe Walsh-Lone Vet Individuals For Justice

This is the kind of nonsense reporting that confuses political decisions. The City of Portland manages police, fire, water, parks and streets. The 2% that the health care people donated to Brady's campaign don't "buy" anything that can be seen as self serving. There is no way she can direct a dime to our company as mayor. The city is self insured for health care. I donated to her campaign because I hope she will bring some busines and common sense to running the city in which I live. My agenda: more police on the streets; less potholes, safe parks and stable jobs. That's what I asked Eileen Brady to work for if she is elected, So, nice sensational story that provoked some interesting and intemperate remarks, but newsworth? Not really. Jeff Heatherington President FamilyCare Inc.

"more police on the streets; less potholes, safe parks and stable jobs" We could pay for these things with CareOregon's and FamilyCare's immense treasure chest of reserves. Just Saying. If you truly want these things, then hand it over.

When the CEO of a local insurer insists on commenting publicly on every story that mentions his name, I have to wonder what he is trying to hide? It sure doesnt seem very professional.

Health Insurance Lobbyists Reward Eileen Brady's Opposition To Single-Payer All Oregonians, indeed, all Americans, should be aware of which candidates for public office get how much money from the health insurance industry. In Portland's mayoral contest Eileen Brady stands not only out but alone with $42,630 from health insurance corporations and executives.* Eileen Brady has been anointed the health care establishment candidate chosen to maintain the status quo. In September 2009 the Portland city council voted unanimously in favor of a Single-Payer resolution which remains in effect today. If elected mayor Eileen Brady would most certainly try to overturn Portland's current, official support for Single-Payer with a resolution favoring the private health insurance industry.  It would be most instructive to hear from state senator Chip Shields and representative Michael Dembrow (both from Portland, who cosponsored Single-Payer bills in the 2011 legislative session) and the Multnomah and Lane county commissions (both voting unanimously in 2009 for Single-Payer resolutions) and the Portland city council about their critiques of how Eileen Brady's views on health care reform COLLIDE with their collective view that Single-Payer is the best solution to Oregon's and America's moral and economic health care crisis. Why Would Health Insurance Lobbyists Reward Eileen Brady's Opposition To Single-Payer? Let Us Count The Ways. During Eileen Brady's tenure as former vice chair of the Oregon Health Fund Board she: 1. Refused to testify in support of the Single-Payer resolution by the Portland city council. 2. Refused to testify in support of the Single-Payer resolution by the Multnomah County Commission. 3. Refused to testify in support of the Single-Payer resolution by the Lane County Commission.  4. Supported the unfunded Billion dollar health care bill of the 2007 legislative session. 5. Supported raising $300,000,000 of the Billion in taxes and fees in the 2009 legislative session which had the effect of raising NOT lowering citizen, business and government health care premiums.   6. Supported the Democrat controlled 2009 legislature's exclusion of Single-Payer citizen advocacy and expanded it to include denying doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and citizens throughout Oregon who supported Single-Payer the right to participate in contributing their views during statewide health care forums sponsored by Eileen Brady's Oregon Health Fund Board. 7. Abandoned her support for the unfunded Billion dollar health care bill of the 2007 legislative session when Republican votes matched Democrats in 2011 leaving $700,000,000 in a health care IOU remaining on the legislative table. However, her support for the profit-making private health insurance industry remained undiminished and her opposition to Single-Payer unchanged. 8. Refused to sign a letter to senators Wyden and Merkley asking them to follow the lead of senator Max Baucus - who with a simple parliamentary maneuver got Single-Payer/Medicare-For-All for all residents of Lincoln county Montana - and repeat Baucus' trick for Multnomah county. A big fuss has been continually made during the Portland mayoral campaign over alleged business acumen demonstrated by New Seasons minority stockholder Eileen Brady who was never employed as a manager or anything else by the New Seasons corporation, nor was Eileen Brady ever an officer or even on the board of directors of the New Seasons corporation. However, Eileen Brady was the vice chair of the Oregon Health Fund Board. In that official capacity she did exercise power in support of a Billion dollar tax increase, an active opposition to Single-Payer health care and execution of a public policy intended to stifle public involvement by those not in agreement with her views on the most important policy and personal matter facing all Oregonians, namely, health care.  Observers from around our state and nationally will want to keep the meaning of all of this in mind as Portland's mayoral contest continues. Unless and until public employees and the taxpayers who pay for their extravagant health care premiums are all in the same boat neither Portland, nor Oregon, nor America will ever have a fair, equitable, affordable and classless health care system. We voters should consider reducing the financial compensation for Portland public officials to the local median income without healthcare benefits. [For good measure we should include the Oregon legislature, the governor and all their staffs.] Portland public employees should have the value of their health care benefits transferred to their salaries and end taxpayer payments for those health care premiums. City lobbyists should be tasked with pursuing Single-Payer health care reform as their top priority at the state and federal level. The city council should sign a letter asking senators Wyden and Merkely to follow senator Baucus' lead in Lincoln county Montana by inserting in must pass legislation a paragraph which could bring Single-Payer/Medicare-for-all to every resident of Multnomah county. Public employee unions should be vigorously encouraged to join the city's Single-Payer lobbying effort. These actions would certainly be health care game changers. Richard Ellmyer Certified Oregon Change Agent by governor John Kitzhaber. Former progressive, socially liberal, fiscally conservative candidate for the North Portland House seat in the May 2010 primary, who authored the no tax increase, Single-Payer type plan, the Oregon Community Health Care Bill, in 2004 and who has supported Single-Payer as the ONLY health care solution to Oregon's and America's moral and economic health care crisis. Defeated by establishment Democrat Tina Kotek, who would not extend the constituent courtesy of submitting my Oregon Community Health Care Bill, does not support Single-Payer, voted for the Billion dollar health care tax increase legislation of previous sessions and refused to sign a letter asking senators Wyden and Merkely to follow senator Baucus' lead in Lincoln county Montana by inserting in must pass legislation a paragraph which could have brought Medicare to all her constituents in Multnomah county. [Did I miss you in my last commentary? Go here: http://topics.oregonlive.com/tag/Richard%2520Ellmyer/index.html] * http://www.thelundreport.org/resource/eileen_brady_insists_healthcare_contributions_won’t_influence_her_decisions