Sunday, December 20, 2009
Please read the Chicago Tribune’s excellent piece on the influence the health lobbyists played on the final reform bill approved by both the House and the Senate.
David Nexon had a big problem. An early version of national health care legislation contained a $40 billion tax aimed squarely at members of the medical device trade association he represents.
When Senate Democrats unveiled their bill in mid-November, Nexon’s handiwork was evident. The tax on device-makers was still large — $20 billion — but only half what it might have been without the efforts of Nexon and his fellow lobbyists.
And, there’s this:
An analysis of public documents by Northwestern University’s Medill News Service in partnership with the Tribune Newspapers Washington Bureau and the Center for Responsive Politics found a revolving door between Capitol Hill staffers and lobbying jobs for companies with a stake in health care legislation.
At least 166 former aides from the nine congressional leadership offices and five committees involved in shaping health overhaul legislation — along with at least 13 former lawmakers — registered to represent at least 338 health care clients since the beginning of last year, according to the analysis.
Their health care clients spent $635 million on lobbying over the past two years, the study shows. The total of insider lobbyists jumps to 278 when non-health-care firms that reported lobbying on health issues are added in, the analysis found.
Like pigs at the trough, the health lobbyists swarmed Congress and they got what they wanted. Meanwhile, the uninsured? Not so much. Ain’t America great?