Health Care, Chicago-Style
Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois. Dr. Imad Almanaseer -- head of pathology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, a friend of Rezko's, and part of Rezko's bloc of five installed on the IFHPA board (which controls all development and expansion of hospitals in the state) -- testified under immunity at Rezko's trial that he was handed index cards by Thomas Beck, the chairman of IFHPA, with voting instructions from Rezko prior to votes. Almanaseer also testified that he is a business partner and investor of Rezko's.
In February 2004, William McNary endorsed Obama in the Communist Party (CPUSA) newspaper the Weekly World. "Obama will be a strong voice in Washington on behalf of working families," wrote McNary. Obama had worked for McNary in the mid-1990s, registering 100,000 votes for Citizen Action/Illinois -- the local branch of USAction, both of which William McNary headed.
According to McNary, Obama also collaborated with United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) to expand children's health insurance in Illinois. "Barack was not just willing to meet with community-based groups, not only to be a good vote for us, but he also strategized with us to help move our position forward," McNary told David Moberg in his 2007 piece "Obama's Third Way." McNary is also a member of the Radical Black Congress and was the keynote speaker for the CPUSA 2002 annual fundraiser.
The left-wing blog Talking Points Memo described McNary as “one of Obama's personal friends and long-time supporters -- someone Obama went to when considering his run for senate and for president."
Monsignor John Egan lived just long enough to see his lifelong dream, the UPAJ, open its doors. The $2.6 million dollars in seed money for UPAJ came from Catholic organizations. Egan envisioned UPAJ as a reorganized Metro IAF -- the Chicago chapter of Saul Alinsky's Industrial Arts Foundation. Cardinal Bernadin announced the gift at a 1995 press conference.
There was outrage in the Catholic community over the role that both the the Bernadin Center for Theology and Ministry and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) played in UPAJ. CCHD's annual budget of $18 million funded UPAJ activities. UPAJ's stated top priorities? Health care for all and fostering relationships with Muslim communities. UPAJ affiliates include the Muslim Student Association, the Lutheran School of Theology, Anshe Shalom B'Nai Israel, Trinity United Church of Christ (Mr. Obama's Chicago church), and Father Pfleger's St. Sabina church.
Also active in CCIR is Tony Campolo, active with the Sojourner Red Letter Christian movement. He is probably best known for "finding it a real privilege" to minister to Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment proceedings and for drawing gasps and boos for having the following exchange with Gary Bauer at Wheaton College: "I know this is hard for you to believe, but the enemy is not John Ashcroft. The enemy is Osama bin Laden," said Bauer. Campolo replied, "I don't know about that."
Chicago's Muslim-centric health care networks range from the Gilead's Campaign for the Uninsured and the Gilead Outreach and Referral Center (both funded by UPAJ), the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Advocate Health Care, and the Michael Reese Healthcare Trust.
The Michael Reese Health Care Trust funds the Sargent Shriver Center National Center on Poverty Law -- which is funded by George Soros, Bill Ayers brother John, SEIU Healthcare, William Daley, the William Daley Charitable Gift Fund, the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services, and the Chicago Bar Fund.
The Chicago Bar Fund supports the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights, the National Immigrant and Justice Center, and, amazingly, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Gilead's board of directors includes Anthony Mitchell of Advocate Health Care, Nancy Cross of SEIU Local, and Syed Najullah of CIOCG.
Other networks include the Muslim Community Center, the Association of Muslim Health Professionals, the Compassionate Care Network, UMMA Community Clinic, the Islamic Medical Association of North America, and IMAN, which is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This excludes the additional $851 million in federal stimulus grants Michele Obama announced on June 29, 2009, to upgrade community health centers because their work "has never been more important."