The return of Bill Thomas

Sunday, February 18, 2007

WASHINGTON - Bill Thomas, the former representative from California, has no plans to retire quietly from politics.

The American Enterprise Institute announced Feb. 13 that Thomas has joined the Washington, D.C., think tank as a visiting fellow on, you guessed it, healthcare policy. (He'll also chime in on tax policy, trade policy, elections and the legislative and political process.)

According to Congressional Quarterly's Healthbeat News, the position gives Thomas, a long-time nemesis of the HME industry, "a major perch from which to comment on Medicare policy."

Until this year, Thomas chaired the House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee, which is charged with writing tax legislation and bills affecting Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs. Prior to his retirement, he was the face behind the 36-month cap on Medicare oxygen reimbursement and other HME cuts.

Thomas, a Republican, decided not to run for re-election in November 2006.

AEI is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics and social welfare.