Big Donor to Democrats Appointed to Obamacare Policy Panel

-By Warner Todd Huston

We’ve seen it over and over with the Obama administration. All one need do to become a “czar” or get a plum appointment to yet another Obama regulatory board is to donate big money to Obama’s campaigns specifically or the Democrats in general. Now it’s happened again.

The Washington Examiner’s Lachlan Markay reports that Judith Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems Corp., has been awarded a seat on the 13-member Health Information Technology Policy Committee, an Obamacare board charged with recommending how $19 billion in stimulus money gets spent on healthcare IT systems.

Faulkner and her employees have been big donors to Democrats having donated over $30,000 to Democrats since 2006.

To a normal American, this record of big donations to the Democrat Party and the self interests Faulkner has in the industry she is supposed to be assessing might seem like a conflict of interest. Republicans must investigate how a long-time, left-wing donor could be appointed to this HHS board.

Interestingly, Faulkner has voiced opposition to Obama’s policy of multivendor “interoperability,” an idea that many different IT providers can integrate their products and software into a nationalized system. Faulkner has said that she supports a single vendor, stand-alone system because multiple vendors won’t work.

“[It] doesn’t work when you mix and match vendors,” she told Bloombeg News in 2009. “It has to be one system, or it can be dangerous for patients.”

Faulkner’s Epic Systems touts it’s interoperability, but really only works when users are utilizing Epic software.

Markay notes, though, that the Obama administration has used clients of Epic Systems as examples of what the nation should follow.

Obama himself has mentioned Geisinger Health System, Kaiser Permanente, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic — all of which use Epic software — as “examples of how we can make the entire health care system more efficient.”

He specifically lauded health IT as a cost-saving measure: “They’ve got health information technologies so that when you take a test, it actually gets forwarded to the next doctor and the next doctor and to the nurse and the pharmacist, so that there aren’t any errors.”

Only a few days before, Obama claimed that the Cleveland Clinic “has one of the best health information technology systems in the country.” That system was made by Epic.

Additionally, Markey reports that Epic Systems has recently gotten a $14 million contract with the U.S. Coast Guard for its electronic medical records systems.

In any case, the whole deal seems to be politics as usual in Washington D.C. Donate big money to the party in charge and get plum appointments to boards or regulatory agencies where you can advocate for your own business at the public’s expense.

So much for “change you can believe in.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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