Progressives Slam Biden’s Choice for Chief of Staff as Health Care “Profiteer”

Jeff Zients constructed a fortune investing in well being care corporations accused of fraud.

Stories Sunday that President Joe Biden has chosen Jeff Zients to exchange outgoing White Home Chief of Employees Ron Klain have been met with alarm amongst progressive watchdogs, who pointed to Zients’ disastrous tenure because the administration’s coronavirus czar in addition to his historical past within the company world — the place he built a fortune investing in healthcare corporations accused of fraud.

Klain, who developed a solid working relationship with progressives in Congress, is anticipated to depart shortly after Biden’s State of the Union tackle on February 7.

Revolving Door Venture govt director Jeff Hauser known as the elevation of Zients to White Home chief of employees a “catastrophic decision,” saying in a press release that “the Biden administration has been at its finest when it has been on the assault towards company excesses that extensive majorities of Individuals discover abhorrent.”

“Individuals are appalled by profiteering in healthcare — Jeff Zients has turn out to be astonishingly wealthy by profiteering in healthcare,” stated Hauser. “Individuals are aghast at how social media corporations have constructed monopolies and violated privateness legal guidelines — Zients served on the Board of Administrators of Fb because it was defending itself towards rising assaults from each political events.”

The Revolving Door Venture’s Daniel Boguslaw and Max Moran wrote for The American Prospect final yr that Zients — who was replaced as Covid-19 response coordinator again in April — has “managed, invested in, and helped oversee” healthcare corporations that “have been pressured to pay tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to settle allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.”

“They’ve additionally been accused of surprise-billing practices and even medical malpractice,” Boguslaw and Moran famous. “Taken collectively, an examination of the businesses that made Zients wealthy paints an image of a person who seized on medical suppliers as a solution to capitalize on the struggling of sick Individuals. Ultimately, it appears to have all paid off.”

“Essentially the most egregious violation is documented in a 2015 Justice Department settlement announcement,” they added. “Portfolio Logic — the funding agency Zients based together with his personal cash —agreed to pay nearly $7 million to resolve allegations of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing, involving a subsidiary (Pediatric Companies of America Healthcare, or PSA) that it bought in 2007.”

Progressives have additionally been extremely crucial of Zients’ efficiency in authorities.

In early 2022, Boguslaw urged the Biden administration to fireside Zients over his failure to “present the supplies mandatory to enhance the U.S. response” to Covid-19 “or the steering essential to maintain the pandemic beneath management.”

Following information that he can be leaving the coronavirus response submit, Public Citizen’s Robert Weissman lamented that Zients “refused to pay applicable consideration to world options to the worldwide pandemic, due to political considerations or in any other case.”

“And the Zients-led Covid response refused to problem Huge Pharma’s monopoly management, within the U.S. and globally, over applied sciences that relied crucially on public help,” Weissman continued. “Consequently, america and different wealthy international locations didn’t broaden vaccine provide sufficiently to fulfill world want. With out sufficient provide, efforts to bolster low-income nation distribution and supply methods consequently have lagged and been equally under-resourced.”

Throughout his time as pandemic response coordinator, Zients was far and away the wealthiest member of Biden’s cupboard, disclosing property worth at least $89.3 million and as a lot as $442.8 million.

Citing the Revolving Door Venture’s work, progressive strategist Murshed Zaheed said Sunday that “Zients as a businessman embodies a lot of the company misconduct the manager department led by a Democratic Social gathering should be cracking down on.”

However the Biden White Home doesn’t seem remotely involved about Zients’ company previous.

With Biden expected to launch a bid for reelection within the coming weeks, The New York Instances reported that “the president might lean on” Zients to “assist run the federal government whereas different advisers deal with the politics of successful a second time period.”

Hauser stated Sunday that “hopefully Zients will show us incorrect — however until that unlikely and fortuitous shock happens, Biden will want a fast hook.”