Sen. Elizabeth Warren, known for her left-wing politics and extreme progressive ideology, is surprisingly being a thorn in the side of the Biden administration. Despite her party affiliation, she is taking a stand against one of President Biden’s nominees for a position on the boards of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Mr. Kouzoukas’s responsibilities on the @CloverHealth board would directly conflict with his duties as a Public Trustee for the Social Security & Medicare Trust Funds—if confirmed. He can dodge questions, but this conflict is shocking and deeply unethical. pic.twitter.com/VWPPYpNRew
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 29, 2023
Warren is objecting to the nomination of Demetrios Kouzoukas, who refuses to state whether he would resign from his current position as a board member of Clover Health, a company that offers senior insurance through Medicare Advantage. This potential conflict of interest is of great concern to Warren, who has repeatedly asked Kouzoukas whether he would step down from his position at Clover Health if confirmed.
Kouzoukas, however, has avoided directly answering the question. He has been evasive and dodgy, merely thanking the Senate for considering his nomination and stating that if given the opportunity, he would try to do his best. This lack of transparency is alarming, given that he would be in a position to influence major policy decisions in healthcare.
Warren has been unwavering in her criticism of Kouzoukas, arguing that he should either withdraw his nomination or be rejected by the Senate. She has cited the fact that he receives $100,000 annually from Clover Health, which makes its profits through Medicare Advantage, as a clear conflict of interest. Yet, in her usual partisan manner, Warren has conveniently ignored the fact that this type of conflict of interest is not new to her party’s politics.
Despite Warren’s well-known views, it is evident that in this case, she is right. The conflict of interest is crystal clear, and it is deeply unethical for anyone in a position of authority to put personal profits ahead of the public interest. Kouzoukas cannot serve two masters; he cannot be a board member of Clover Health and a trustee for Medicare simultaneously.
This move by Warren is commendable, and it is heartening to see that a broken clock is right twice a day. It is a shame that more politicians could not be as principled in their views, regardless of party affiliation. Warren’s objections to Kouzoukas’s nomination serve as a reminder that the public good should always trump personal interest, and that conflicts of interest in politics should be rooted out and exposed.