Why is this NRA-Backed Senator’s Wife on the Board of a Children’s Hospital?

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Gun violence is the third leading cause of death among America’s children.  Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has taken 3 million dollars in campaign donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and has voted repeatedly to promote the NRA agenda of guns for anyone, anywhere, any time.  So, why is his spouse, Jane Portman, the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cincinnati Children's Hospital?  Join us in calling on the CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Michael Fisher, and the rest of the Board of Trustees to demand her resignation.  (One more thing: Do some research on the NRA-owned lawmakers in your state. Prestigious board positions in hospitals, charities, and foundations are often political gifts to spouses that cleanse the blood from politicians’ hands.) 

To:  Michael Fisher, CEO, and the Board of Trustees of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

We are calling on you to remove Jane Portman from her position as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Her presence on the Board is an appalling affront to every parent and child in this country who has ever been a victim of gun violence.

Surely, you must be aware that gun violence is the 3rd leading cause of death among America’s children.[1]  Yet, the junior senator from Ohio, Rob Portman, has taken over 3 million dollars from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to do its bidding in Congress.[2] The NRA has bought and paid for Portman’s unflinching support of even the most egregious and dangerous gun legislation. That includes the repeal in February 2017 of an Obama-era rule that made it harder for people with mental illness to buy a gun.[3] Another bill coming up for a vote in the Senate, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, would, if passed, effectively make the weakest state gun laws in the country the law of the land.[4] The NRA will be expecting the members of Congress it owns to vote in favor of the Act, including their 3 Million Dollar Man, Rob Portman.[5]

 We strongly recommend that you research Portman’s relationship with the NRA, view the photos on the NRA website of Portman in full combat fatigues carrying a long gun, and watch the organization’s advertisements on NRATV.  Not only are these optics unseemly, they are unmistakably aggressive, provocative, and racist.[6]

 We would also like to remind you that Rob Portman has worked every day in Congress to strip Americans – including sick children and their families in Ohio – of their healthcare:

 1. Portman voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid, two programs that benefit sick children and their families, as well as the hospital’s bottom line.[7] It is widely known that Mr. Fisher called upon CCHMC staff to ask their legislators to vote against repeal.  We would be curious to know what, if anything, Mr. Fisher asked of Jane Portman.

 2.  In voting in favor of the new tax law – which repealed the individual mandate - Portman undermined and sabotaged the ACA.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, as a result, 13 million more Americans will lose their healthcare by 2027 and premiums in the individual market will increase by 10 percent or more each year. [8]  

 3.  Portman and his Republican collaborators allowed CHIP funding to expire for 9 million American children, including more than 220,000 children in Ohio, and refused to reauthorize the program for 4 months, leaving its recipients in limbo. [9]

Please consider how Rob Portman’s policy positions, voting record, and values square with the mission and vision of CCHMC and whether Mrs. Portman is a worthy representative of the institution:

●     Do you believe that Rob Portman’s record demonstrates that he is a champion of child health and safety? 

●     Do you believe that Mrs. Portman opposes her spouse’s policy positions on guns and healthcare? 

●     Do you imagine that Mrs. Portman does not participate in campaigning and fundraising events with the Senator’s donors, including gun lobbyists?

●     Where do you believe Mrs. Portman’s loyalties lie: With the children and institution she is charged with serving or her spouse?

 Rob Portman has proven time and again that he is not a friend to this nation’s children, particularly poor children, uninsured children, and children who have been shot.  It is an embarrassment that Jane Portman remains in her role at CCHMC. Please do the right thing and demand her resignation. Her continued presence on the Board undercuts the institution’s mission and demonstrates that you care more about playing politics than about the children and community you serve.

Members of the Board: Jane Portman, Chair; Michael Fisher, President & CEO; Sharry P. Addison; Robert D.H. Anning; Carol H. Armstrong; Lynwood L. Battle; Mark Biegger; Maureen Bisognano; Chris Browner; Michael S. Cambron; Lee A. Carter; Thomas G. Cody; Dave Dougherty; Nancy Kreiger Eddy, PhD; S. Kay Geiger; Beth Guttman; Deb Henretta; Margaret Hostetter, MD; Michael A. Hirschfeld, Esq.; Gary Huffman; Mark Jahnke, Esq.; Joyce Keeshin; M. Denise Kuprionis, Esq.; David P. Osborn; Susan Shelton; Liza D. Smitherman; John W. Steinman; Daniel von Allmen, MD; Hillary Weidner; Chiquita White; Felicia Williams; Craig S. Young

[1] http://www.newsweek.com/guns-kids-third-leading-cause-death-627209
[2] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/04/opinion/thoughts-prayers-nra-funding-senators.html 
[3] http://fortune.com/2018/02/15/trump-shooting-mental-illness/
[4] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/concealed-carry-reciprocity-act-showdown/
[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHeruYAsr0A
[6] http://www.businessinsider.com/national-rifle-association-ad-call-to-violence-2017-6
[7] https://www.healthreformvotes.org/congress/400325
[8] https://hbr.org/2017/12/how-the-new-u-s-tax-plan-will-affect-health-care
[9] https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/annual-chip-enrollment

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