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Obama camp has many ties to University of Chicago Medical Center

Washington Post, August 22, 2008
A few years ago, executives at the University of Chicago Medical Center were concerned that an increasing number of patients were arriving at their emergency room with what the executives considered to be non-urgent complaints. Michelle Obama, an executive at the medical center, launched a program to steer the patients to existing neighborhood clinics. That effort inspired a broader program the hospital now calls its Urban Health Initiative. To ensure community support, Michelle Obama and others recommended that the hospital hire the firm of David Axelrod, who a few months later became the chief strategist for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The medical center's initiative illustrates how the Obamas, their associates at the University of Chicago, and Axelrod, dealt with an intractable social problem that confronts many urban areas: How much care should large, nonprofit hospitals offer the poor in return for tax-exempt status?