Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fletcher: A Foot Soldier in ALEC's Privatization Push

Democratic Chair Calls on Candidate to Renounce Membership in 'Corporate Bill Mill'

In an internal memo from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) distributed before a 2010 conference in San Diego, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is listed as the only California legislator on an ALEC committee advocating for the privatization of Medicaid.

The memo includes “model legislation” aimed at providing “vouchers for private insurance coverage” as a replacement for the popular program that covers healthcare for low-income families. As with similar proposals to privatize Medicare and Social Security, critics say a voucher system would undermine the program’s solvency while enriching the insurance industry at patients’ expense.

“It’s bad enough that Nathan Fletcher has been bankrolled by the insurance industry while he does their bidding in Sacramento,” said Jess Durfee, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. “Now it turns out he has been actively involved in the effort to privatize vital public services.”

Mayoral candidate Fletcher is one of a handful of California lawmakers to be on the national membership roster of ALEC, which People for the American Way calls “the voice of corporate special interests in state legislatures.” Funded by major corporations and conservative family foundations, the right-wing think tank promotes privatization, deregulation, restrictive voter ID laws, and the repeal of labor protections.

“I call on Mr. Fletcher to renounce his membership in this corporate bill mill,” Durfee said. “Further, I think voters deserve to know why he has participated in ALEC's push to privatize Medicaid, which would leave affordable healthcare out of reach for millions of Americans.”

ALEC has recently been attacked for its role in passing “stand your ground” gun laws, including the one in Florida that the defendant in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has sought to apply in his case. Many corporate sponsors have pulled their support from the increasingly controversial group this year, including Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Intuit, Kraft, and McDonalds.

Links to ALEC’s membership roster and the “Health and Human Services Task Force” memo are now posted at

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