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KC STAR: Marshall Pushed Policies Benefiting For-Profit Hospitals, An Industry His Family Is Invested In & Profits From

In Latest Example of Washington Politician Trying to Profit Off Pandemic, Marshall Pushed for Looser Regulations In Coronavirus Response Proposal

A brutal Kansas City Star report reveals how Washington politician and Congressman Roger Marshall “pushed Congress to overturn restrictions on physician-owned hospitals,” an industry his family is invested in and has profited off of for years. Marshall even used his coronavirus response plan to try and loosen the rules, which would benefit “income-generating investments” for his family. Those investments yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars in income. 

“This is the type of self-dealing you’d expect from a typical Washington politician like Congressman Marshall, and it’s this record that no amount of Mitch McConnell’s special interest money can cover up,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “Voters are sick of politicians putting themselves first, and this report is exactly the type of thing Marshall doesn’t want Kansans to read two weeks before the election.”

Beyond this latest effort to benefit an industry he’s tied to, Marshall cosponsored legislation that “would have lifted limits on the construction and expansion of physician-owned hospitals,” personally lobbied the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow physician-owned hospitals to treat more Medicare patients, and as the coronavirus pandemic initially began to spread, Marshall signed a letter calling for the suspension of the ban on new physician-owned hospitals. An expert on Congressional ethics called Marshall’s actions “a conflict of interest.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Kansas City Star: Marshall pushed to aid physician-owned hospitals. His wife profited from land under them

By Jonathan Shorman and Bryan Lowry

October 20, 2020

Key Points:

  • As Kansas scrambled to combat the pandemic in April, Rep. Roger Marshall signed a letter to top congressional leaders proposing 10 actions to fight COVID-19. Item six called for lifting a decade-old ban on new hospitals owned by physicians.
  • The letter came after Marshall’s wife had made at least $195,000 and possibly as much as $450,000 in the previous three years from real estate investments involving physician-owned hospitals.
  • A review of financial disclosures and congressional documents by The Kansas City Star reveals several instances in which Marshall, a Great Bend OB-GYN and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, pushed Congress to overturn restrictions on physician-owned hospitals while his wife, Laina Marshall, held a financial stake in the industry.
  • The Affordable Care Act placed several restrictions on such hospitals. Marshall would vote on and potentially help draft any replacement to the landmark law if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes it down. Oral arguments in a case challenging the ACA are scheduled for Nov. 10.
  • Physician-owned hospitals are just that: hospitals owned by doctors that are often run for profit.
  • They have been controversial within the medical community because of concerns that they undercut traditional hospitals by “cherry picking” profitable patients. Critics also contend they create an environment where doctors may have financial incentive in the care they provide, creating a conflict of interest.
  • And, as Marshall’s financial disclosures show, the industry can be profitable for investors.
  • Annual reports filed by Marshall show that in the years he’s been in Congress, Laina Marshall has held income-generating investments in land and buildings for two physician-owned hospitals in Texas.
  • As his wife’s Texas land investments yielded income, Congressman Marshall took steps to try to improve the market for physician-owned hospitals. In 2017, he co-sponsored the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act. The legislation would have lifted limits on the construction and expansion of physician-owned hospitals.
  • In May 2019, Marshall wrote to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asking that the agency launch a demonstration project that would allow some physician-owned hospitals to treat more Medicare patients.
  • On April 26, Marshall pushed to go further. He joined Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson in calling for suspension of the ban on new physician-owned hospitals. The recommendation was among 10 proposals for responding to COVID-19 from the Republican Study Committee, which Johnson chairs. Marshall heads the committee’s health care task force.
  • “It poses a conflict of interest. His family, his wife, will personally benefit from passage of legislation like that and that also means the lawmaker will benefit,” [Public Citizen’s Craig] Holman said.

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