Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights

Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights

Background

The Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights (CPPR) was a group that opposed health care reform and Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It openly admitted that it was managed by the Republican lobbying firm DCI Group. [1]

Despite being an operation of a GOP-tied PR firm, according to an archived version of its now-defunct website, the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights was said to be ” a nonpartisan, grassroots organization made up of more than 10,000 doctors, healthcare professionals, patients and engaged citizens that believe medical decisions should be left between patients and doctors.” [6], [7]

The group opposed the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, claiming: [2]

“The ongoing battle to shape our nation’s healthcare did not end with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  … We also believe that personal ownership of health insurance policies will make each patient a better, more informed advocate for their care and make insurance companies more competitive and offer more services.  We are concerned about the new law’s emphasis on expanding government programs and government control over healthcare decisions. We will continue to be a resource for our elected representatives and are committed to working with them to ensure that any health system reform is reform that works for all patients.” [2]

One of its press releases asserted that “The Coalition to Protect Patients Rights worked hard to achieve patient-centered health care reform during the course of the health care debate, staunchly opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act due to its failure to protect patients’ rights.” [3]

According to publicly available 990 nonprofit tax filings, the 501(c)(4) CPPR filed for termination in 2012.

Center to Protect Patient Rights (American Encore) Ties to Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights

American Encore, formerly the Center to Protect Patient Rights, gave more than $4 million to the similarly-named Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights. That accounts for over 89% of the the Coalition’s overall revenue from grants, and 100% in half of the years on file. SourceWatch speculated the two groups may be alter egos as a practical matter though legally separate, while OpenSecrets reported in 2012 on ties between the two groups: [4]

CPPR’s name is almost exactly the same as that of another group, the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights, a group that organized lobbying efforts against health care overhaul proposals being debated in Congress in 2009. And CPPR gave the Coalition $205,000 in 2010. Further, the records for both groups were listed as being stored at the same Glendale, Ariz., address by a woman who describes herself as an employee of DCI Group, a lobbying firm practiced in manufacturing ‘grassroots’ campaigns for the tobacco industry and others that has handled public relations for the Coalition.

“But the Coalition’s spokesman, physician and lawyer, Donald Palmisano, told OpenSecrets Blog he’d never heard of the other group, as did a publicist with DCI Group.” [4]

Star Eiting, former Director of Coalition Accounting at DCI Group, is listed on the Center to Protect Patient Rights’ 2010 990 tax form as possessing the books and records of the organization, as well as the 2010 990 for the Coalition to Protect Patients Rights. As noted above, ThinkProgress reported the Coalition to Protect Patient Rights was being managed by the public relations and lobbying firm DCI Group[5]

Mother Jones reported: “DCI’s managing partners have deep experience in the political dark arts. Tom Synhorst, for instance, is a former associate of Ralph Reed (as well as a former aide to GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa). Synhorst and fellow founding partners Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde spent years working for or with the tobacco conglomerate RJR Nabisco, where they supported ‘smokers’ rights’ groups,” which was one of the tactics in the Tobacco playbook to try to thwart government regulation of its cancer-causing products through deploying third parties and front groups. [8]

Stance on Climate Change

While CPPR does not appear to have released any statements on climate change, Sean Noble—president of the similarly-titled Center to Protect Patient Rights (now American Encore), which has donated nearly the entire budget to the Coalition and who was identified as a Koch operative—has posted on social media questioning climate change. For example, in a 2014 tweet: [9], [23]

So much for climate science being ‘settled.’ Al Gore eating a healthy serving of crow today,” Noble said.

Funding

The Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights received more than $4 million from the similarly-named Center to Protect Patient Rights, which later morphed into the group American Encore: [10]

American Encore / Center to Protect Patient Rights (Donor) 
2009$1,859,000
2010$205,000
2011$1,570,000
2012$710,000
Grand Total$4,344,000

Below is an analysis of the percentage of the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights income, year over year, from the Center to Protect Patient Rights:

YearRevenue from GrantsGrants from Center to Protect Patients Rights% Revenue
2012$710,000$710,000100.00%
2011$1,601,130$1,570,00098.06%
2010$205,000$205,000100.00%
2009$2,360,000$1,859,00078.77%
Overall$4,876,130$4,344,00089.09%

DeSmog’s separate profile on American Encore /CPPR outlines how that group has given over $190 million to conservative organizations, and received $167 million from Koch-controlled donor groups.

990 Forms

Key People

Donald J. Palmisano Spokesperson. He has also been introduced as the group’s president, however is not listed as such on the group’s tax filings. [11], [12]

Palmisano is a physician, attorney, and the founder and president of Intrepid Resources/The Medical Risk Manager Company. He was formerly the president of the American Medical Association from 2003 to 2004. [13]

“Dr. Palmisano has testified before Congress many times and has appeared on dozens of news shows including Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Capitol Gang, Nightline World News Tonight, Talk Back Live, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Crossfire, and Fox News with Tony Snow,” a press release notes. Those appearances have included talks on Fox News criticizing the Affordable Care Act describing it as “anti-liberty” and “a law of coercion.” [14]

Quoted in a CPPR press release, Palmisano declared: [15]

“Unfortunately, when medicine is subject to the limits of government-control and price-fixing, patients suffer. This isn’t just the case for Medicare, but also for Medicaid, or any other government controlled healthcare system – no matter what it’s called.”

Board Members

The following individuals are listed on CPPR‘s 990 tax returns:

Name2009201020112012Description
Eric David HarganYYY Director and Treasurer
Joel Allumbaugh   YPresident/Secretary/Treasurer
Lawrence WileyYYY Director and Secretary
Thomas Richard BarkerYYY Director and President

Eric David Hargan

Eric Hargan was the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Trump Administration from October 2017 to January 2018. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) spoke out against Hargan at his confirmation as HHS secretary, citing his ongoing attacks on the Affordable Care Act. [16]

“I have no reason to believe Mr. Hargan will deviate from Tom Price’s ideological agenda that includes constant sabotage of the Affordable Care Act,” Wyden said, reported The Hill. “This campaign of sabotage is driving up premiums and confusing Americans who just want to be able to see a doctor and get affordable treatment.” [17]

Joel Allumbaugh

Now listed as a senior visiting fellow at the rightwing group called Foundation for Government Accountability. He is also president, founder, and chief executive officer at National Worksite Benefit Group (NWBG), Inc., dba The Allumbaugh Agency — an insurance broker agency offering private health insurance. [18], [19]

Thomas Richard Barker

Thomas Barker is co-chair of a healthcare practice at the law firm of Foley Hoag where he works for corporate clients on “complex federal and state health care legal and regulatory matters with a special expertise in Medicare and Medicaid law including coverage, reimbursement, and regulatory oversight.” [20]

Barker also served with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where he acted as general counsel. He served under the George W. Bush administration in a variety of health care policy positions. During the 1990,s he was regulatory counsel to the Massachusetts Hospital Association. [20]

Actions

October 4,  2009

Donald J. Palmisano was among physicians who wrote Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing President Obama’s announced goal of health care reform. Palmisano went on to discuss his views in a Washington Journal appearance, as captured by C-SPAN. [21], [12]

October 2, 2009

CPPR launched a steering committee to work closely with the staff of Senator Kay Hagan. “Steering committee members noted that the coalition had just launched the North Carolina steering committee and offered to be a resource for Senator Hagan.  Senator Hagan’s staff said they would certainly welcome additional meetings and that they were pleased to have such a positive and constructive group to work with,” the CPPR website noted. CPPR‘s news archive notes it also launched committees in Maine, Arkansas, Wyoming, Utah, and Louisiana among others. [22]

June 26, 2009

CPPR‘s Donald J. Palmisano attended an event alongside a number of representatives from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to discuss concerns that “proposed legislation might jeopardize private health insurance and the doctor-patient relationship.” [11]

“At this forum, Representative Thomas E. Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, will describe his vision of patient-centered reform that would transfer purchasing power to health care consumers and ensure that medical decisions are made on a personal level between physicians and their patients,” the event description reads. [11]

Attendees included AEI resident fellows Scott Gottlieb and Thomas P. Miller, in addition to Price and Palmisano. [11]

Contact & Address

The Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights listed the following address on its nonprofit tax filings:

PO Box 3114,
Arlington, VA
22203
Ph: 703-405-9407

Social Media

Resources

  1. Lee Fang. “EXCLUSIVE: Infamous Astroturf Lobbying Firm Behind New Anti-Health Reform Group,” ThinkProgress, July 28, 2009. Archived August 29, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/a1mJ9
  2. Proud to be a voice for patients,The Coalition to Protect Patient Rights. Archived October 31, 2010. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/qfaJ1
  3. Patients’ Group Concerned Over Increasing Health Care Costs,” Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights, September 21, 2010. Archived October 31, 2010. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/ZU1C2
  4. Mystery Health Care Group Funneled Millions to Conservative Nonprofits,” OpenSecrets.org, May 18, 2012. Archived July 5, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/IhOLO
  5. About BlastRoots – Team Bios,” blastroots. Archived July 6, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/5S0x7
  6. Lee Fang. “EXCLUSIVE: Infamous Astroturf Lobbying Firm Behind New Anti-Health Reform Group,” ThinkProgress, July 28, 2009. Archived July 5, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/a1mJ9
  7. Who We Are,” Coalition to Protect Patient Rights. Archived August 20, 2010. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/sB78j
  8. Town Hall Protests: Astroturf 2.0?“ Mother Jones, August 19, 2009. Archived July 5, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/nezN7
  9.  Al Gore eating a healthy serving of crow today. …” Tweet by @SeanNobleAZDC, August 31, 2014. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  10. Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights,” Conservative Transparency. Search performed August 31, 2019.
  11. Patient-Centered Care versus Political Medicine,” American Enterprise Institute, June 26, 2009. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/PRIad
  12. Health Care Debate,” C-SPAN, October 6, 2009. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  13. “Donald J.Palmisano, M.D., J.D.Intrepid Resources. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL:https://archive.fo/97ufn
  14. Decision on health care law nears,” Fox News. Archived .m4v on file at DeSmog.
  15. (Press Release). “Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights: Medicare Being Cut Today,” Business Wire, March 1, 2010. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/PIbI1
  16. Eric D. Hargan,” HHS.gov. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/01UFD
  17. Rachel Roubein. “Senate confirms No. 2 spot at HHS, days after Price resigns,” The Hill, October 4, 2017. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/JBoyc
  18. JOEL ALLUMBAUGH: Visiting Fellow,” FGA. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/MbNVC
  19. Our Company,” The Allumbaugh Agency. Archived August 31, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/KxGMd
  20. “Thomas Barker” (PDF), Foley Hoag LLP. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  21. Donald J. Palmisano, William G. Plested II, and Daniel H. Johnson, Jr. “What We Would Have Told Obama,” The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2009. Archived March 26, 2015. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/uc03O
  22. North Carolina Steering Committee Launch,” Center to Protect Patients’ Rights. Archived October 31, 2010. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Y0QpY
  23. Kim Barker and Theodoric Meyer. “Buying Your Vote–The Dark Money Man: How Sean Noble Moved the Kochs’ Cash into Politics and Made Million,” Pro Publica, February 14, 2014.

Other Resources

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