Obamacare Champs include lobbyist who worked to raise mining taxes


The Obama administration dubbed 10 health care activists as "Champions of Change" Wednesday for their work in pushing through the Affordable Care Act two years ago.

Doctors, women’s advocacy groups and political players comprise the group of winners, including Jan Gilbert, a paid Nevada lobbyist.

Gilbert is co-founder of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. The former elementary school teacher has no medical background, but is a noted liberal activist. She was hailed by the White House for advocating "economic justice and environmental justice issues in the state for nearly 30 years."

Part of that included working to raise taxes on the mining industry in Nevada, despite its reeling unemployment rate, particularly among blue-collar workers:

"We are not opposed to mining. We just know they are making a heck of a lot of money right now," said Jan Gilbert, a lobbyist and co-founder of the Nevada Progressive Leadership Alliance that also is made up of educators and social activists.

"They need to contribute and they haven't for a long time," she said. […]

Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley said the current tax structure is fair for an industry that provides the state 14,000 direct, high-paying jobs and another 51,000 indirect jobs. He said while Nevada's unemployment rate is about 12 percent, it is closer to 6 percent in counties where mining is prevalent.

Last week, a Nevada judge ruled the proposed law to raise taxes on the mining industry could proceed as written.

The announcements came on Wednesday afternoon, while President Obama was travelling for his four-state energy tour. Friday marks the second anniversary of the passage of the controversial Affordable Care Act. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama does not plan to commemorate his signature effort in the wake of a poll showing public disapproval of the plan.

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