Phil Bredesen

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Learn more about Pete Peterson-funded astroturf projects at the Fix the Debt Portal.

Phil Bredesen was a superdelegate in the 2008 Democratic nomination.

Phil Bredesen is the former Democratic Governor of Tennessee and was a superdelegate in the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He is a former healthcare industry executive (he founded HealthAmerica Corporation, an insurance company, which he sold in 1986 for about $385 million), and is currently on the board of directors of Vanguard Health Systems,[1] a $5 billion hospital chain, receiving an annual compensation of $240,005 in 2011.[2]

Ties to Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

Bredesen is on the steering committee of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.[3] In January 2013, Bredesen admitted that Fix the Debt's strategy was to create an "artificial crisis" to achieve a "grand bargain" on Medicare and Social Security.[4]

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine.


Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest

Bredesen is currently on the board of directors of Vanguard Health Systems,[5] a $5 billion hospital chain, receiving an annual compensation of $240,005 in 2011.[6] Vanguard lobbied on federal appropriations issues in the third quarter of 2012.[7] Vanguard's biggest owner is the private equity firm Blackstone Group[8] (Blackstone and its affiliates acquired Vanguard in 2004).[9] Blackstone was co-founded by Fix the Debt funder Pete Peterson.[10] Bredesen has been an investor in a number of healthcare companies in addition to HealthAmerica Corp., including Coventry Health Care (which was recently sold to Aetna for $5.6 billion)[11], First Commonwealth, and Qualifacts Systems Inc. For a time Bredesen was being considered for Health and Human Services secretary in the first Obama administration, but lost out to Kathleen Sebelius. Responding to opposition to his potential appointment from national and Tennessee healthcare advocates, Bredesen told the Wall Street Journal[12] "advocacy groups don't matter nearly as much as the pharmaceutical groups, the hospitals, the doctors' groups. There's a lot of very powerful interest groups that will play in this thing." Bredesen is on the Governor's Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which received $400,000 from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in 2011 to fund its Debt Reduction Task Force.[13]

Cutback of Public Health Program

According to Ron Pollack, president of health care advocacy group FamiliesUSA, Bredesen “presided over the largest state cutback of public health programs in the history of our nation, so how can one not be worried about him?”[14][15] As governor of Tennessee in 2004, Bredesen did away with Tennessee's state health care program, TennCare, and reverted to standard Medicaid, eliminating coverage for 430,000 people, and imposted strict limits on prescription drugs and doctor visits, with no appeals. This resulted in budget surpluses.[16]

2008 superdelegate

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This profile of a 2008 Democratic superdelegate from Tennessee was part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project, a collaboration of LiteraryOutpost, OpenLeft, DemConWatch, HuffPost's OffTheBus and the Congresspedia community to build an open-source tally and informational resource on the 2008 Democratic superdelegates. (More about superdelegates.)
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See all the Tennessee members of Congress, candidates and blogs at the Tennessee portal.
This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.
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This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the Tennessee superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.


Articles and Resources

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

Other Related SourceWatch Articles

External Resources

  • DemConWatch - A very comprehensive list of superdelegates and known commitments. Please use this as a starting point and double check by doing a news search to make sure the data is accurate. If you have a tip, let them know.
  • WashingtonPost.com - Web site with full listing of superdelegates broken out by state and then type.


References

  1. Vanguard Health Systems, "Bredesen Biography", organizational website, accessed January 1, 2013.
  2. Vanguard Health Systems, Inc., Schedule 14A Proxy Statement, corporate Securities and Exchange Commission filing, October 19, 2012, p. 55.
  3. Fix the Debt, CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, organizational document, accessed January 2013.
  4. Chas Sisk, Gov. Phil Bredesen Calls for 'Artificial Crisis' on the Debt, Tenneseean, January 29, 2013.
  5. Vanguard Health Systems, "Bredesen Biography", organizational website, accessed January 1, 2013.
  6. Vanguard Health Systems, Inc., Schedule 14A Proxy Statement, corporate Securities and Exchange Commission filing, October 19, 2012, p. 55.
  7. Capitol Health Group, LLC, Lobbying Report, lobbying firm lobbying report filed with U.S. Congress on client Vanguard Health Systems, July 1 - September 30, 2012.
  8. Vanguard Health Systems, Inc. Major Holders, Yahoo! Finance, accessed January 2013.
  9. #109 Vanguard Health Systems, "America's Largest Private Companies," Forbes, 2010.
  10. Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Peter G. Peterson, Founder and Chairman, organizational website, accessed January 2013.
  11. Kevin Rector, "Coventry Health Care To Pay $3 Million To Avoid Prosecution in Medicare Case", The Hartford Courant, November 21, 2012.
  12. Laura Meckler, HHS Candidate Draws Fire, Fights Back", The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2009.
  13. Peter G. Peterson Foundation, "Bipartisan Policy Center, Inc.", organizational website, accessed January 1, 2013.
  14. Jonathan Cohn, "More Reasons Why Bredesen Is A Bad, Bad Idea", The New Republic, February 5, 2009.
  15. Families USA, "Unwilling Volunteers: Tennesseans out of Health Care", organizational website, accessed January 1, 2013.
  16. Tennessee: Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), National Journal Almanac, accessed January 2013.