Michael David Bromberg
Time of Service:
Place of Service:
Riverside Memorial Chapel
A legendary figure in the shaping of America’s healthcare industry policies, who enjoyed life passionately and lived it fully, died peacefully at age 78 in his New York City home on Friday, August 12, 2016, surrounded by his family, after a valiant battle against leukemia.
Mike became respected in Washington as an honest advocate of healthcare industry policies and a pragmatist skilled at forging bipartisan solutions. He was also something of a rarity in the nation’s capital, as he maintained loyal friendships with Republicans and Democrats, even as Washington became an increasingly bipartisan place to work.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Marlys Bromberg and his daughters Cherise Bromberg (husband Curt Olsen), Carrie Bromberg, and Melissa Fass (husband Joshua Fass), plus grandchildren Maddy Fass, Carter Fass and Lexie Fass. Mike is also survived by his daughters from a previous marriage, Marjorie Hope Goldberg and Dr. Susan Cohen.
Mike was a gregarious man who loved life and laughed at it openly. Devoted not only to his family and his career, he was passionate about his leisure life, particularly enjoying jazz, playing the piano exquisitely and obsessing with his passion for New York’s Yankees and Giants. Mike and Marlys resided in New York City and Naples, FL, though Mike’s love was and would always be NYC.
Mike was born in Providence, RI, the only child of Morris and Frances Bromberg. His father Morris was a highly respected cantor at a Providence synagogue and was the founder of Benny’s auto store chain, where Mike often worked as a youth. In high school, Mike was a member of his school’s fencing team.
He graduated from Columbia College in 1959. While at Columbia, Mike became a member of the school’s famous a cappella singing group, The Kingsmen – a group still prominent today, where he was joined by another honorable member, Art Garfunkel. Many great harmonies arose therein. Years later, Garfunkel wrote a note to say Mike taught him everything he needed to know about harmony, while he taught Mike about the “Sound of Silence.”
Mike went on to attend New York University Law School, where he earned his LLB degree in 1962. He then worked in a prestigious NYC law firm and later became Herbert Tenzer’s campaign manager during his successful bid for Congress in the Long Island district. Mike joined Tenzer in Washington as his legislative assistant and administrative assistant. It was there that Mike met his future wife, Marlys, and she became the love of his life and partner in his future profession as a lobbyist. Mike and Marlys became a perfect team in developing the sort of enduring professional and personal relationships and friendships that are essential to success in the way Washington really works.
In 1969, Mike became the Washington representative of the Federation of American Hospitals, where he earned a reputation that far transcended the common public view of his lobbying profession. He did it by using, time and again, the one weapon that is not the first choice of those who work in politics or the related craft of lobbying – candor. Journalists Eleanor Clift and Tom Brazaitis wrote a book, War Without Bloodshed, that devoted an entire chapter to Mike’s work and referred to him as Washington’s “Mr. Health Care.”
One of Mike’s most innovative ideas was to convince the varied separate healthcare interests – the public hospitals, for profit hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and doctors – to unite in a single group that he formed. His key argument was that some form of health reform was definitely going to happen and the healthcare interests needed to unite to shape what was inevitably going to happen. It was called the Healthcare Leadership Council and it is still an influential voice in healthcare today.
After retiring as CEO from the Federation of American Hospitals in 2001, Mike continued his lobbying success, forming the Capitol Health Group while remaining a lifetime FAH board member. In 2007, Mike and Marlys founded the Health Coverage Foundation, a charitable organization to provide funds for low income families to obtain private health insurance coverage in a number of American cities.
After a spectacular life and career, on Friday, August 12, Mike was resting comfortably in his home on Manhattan’s West side, beside his baby grand piano and a large window overlooking the Hudson River. There was a glorious sunset, his wife was at his side and so were his grandchildren who had come to say goodbye. Granddaughter Maddy, 13, sang to him the song that had become a true love ballad for Mike and Marlys, Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.” Shortly after, with Marlys, his wife of 48 years at his side, he peacefully passed away.
Shiva will be held at the Bromberg residence on Wednesday and Thursday 6-9 pm and on Friday 2-4 pm. In lieu of flowers, a tax-deductible donation in the name of Mike Bromberg can be made to Leukemia Fighters at cornellleukemia.com/leukemia-fighters or the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Assn. at riversideparknyc.org/special-donation.