by Michelle Malkin
The White House, Democrats and MoveOn liberals are spreading healthcare sob stories to sell a government takeover. But there’s one healthcare policy nightmare you won’t hear the Obamas hyping. It’s a tale of poor minority patient-dumping in Chicago — with first lady Michelle Obama’s fingerprints all over it.
Don’t expect the president to support a probe. While a top executive at the hospital, Mrs. Obama helped engineer the plan to offload low-income patients with non-urgent health needs. Under the Orwellian banner of an “Urban Health Initiative,” Mrs. Obama sold the scheme to outsource low-income care to other facilities as a way to “dramatically improve healthcare for thousands of South Side residents.”
In truth, it was old-fashioned cost-cutting and favor-trading repackaged as minority aid. Clearing out the poor freed up room for insured (i.e., more lucrative) patients. If a Republican had proposed the very same program and recruited black civic leaders to front it, Michelle Obama and her grievance-mongering friends would be screaming “RAAAAAAAAACISM!” at the top of their lungs.
Joe Stephens of The Washington Post wrote, “To ensure community support, Michelle Obama and others in late 2006 recommended that the hospital hire the firm of David Axelrod, who a few months later became the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Axelrod’s firm (ASK Public Strategies) recommended an aggressive promotional effort modeled on a political campaign — appoint a campaign manager, conduct focus groups, target messages to specific constituencies, then recruit religious leaders and other third-party ‘validators.’ They, in turn, would write and submit opinion pieces to Chicago publications.”
Some healthcare experts saw through Mrs. Obama and PR man Axelrod — yes, the same Axelrod who is now President Obama’s senior adviser. But the University of Chicago Medical Center hired ASK Public Strategies to promote Mrs. Obama’s initiative. Axelrod had the blessing of Chicago political guru Valerie Jarrett — now a White House senior adviser.
Mrs. Obama talks frequently about the Obama family’s financial struggles, including paying off student loans. She was earning more than $300,000 a year when she took a leave of absence from her University of Chicago hospital post. She received a raise to $316,000 from $121,000 in 2005, shortly after her husband was elected to the Senate.
Michelle Obama, tonight’s big speaker, received a large payday in 2005 from the University of Chicago Medical Center — a promotion with a $200,000 annual raise. It came just after her husband became a U.S. senator. The following year, Senator Obama inserted a $1 million earmark for the hospital. Given that money is fungible, taxpayers are underwriting Mrs. Obama’s raise through 2010, thanks to her husband’s earmark (she is currently on leave from that job).