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Monday, August 17th, 2009   10:27 am | Author: Art | Health/Medical, Politics/Government |
Tags: healthcare, lobbying, Obama
A couple of Bloomberg writers, Jonathan D. Salant and Lizzie O’Leary, dug up some interesting information that may lead one to believe that an average citizen’s position on health care reform may be meaningless.
In their on-line article they point out that there are 3,300 lobbyists working on health care reform. And when I say working on it I mean trying to sway Congress in the direction of their clients, health care institutions, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, etc.
If you do the math that works out to about 6 lobbyists for each member of Congress. The top ten lobbying firms by revenue (Patton Boggs LLP, Akin, Gump, Van Scoyoc Assoc, Podesta Group, Holland & Knight, Dutko Worldwide, Cassidy & Assoc, K&L Gates, Brownstein, Hyatt, Hogan & Hartson) as well as many others have lobbyists working on this.
The Center for Responsive Politics indicates that over $230 million was spent on lobbyists by companies and organizations in the health care sector during the first 6 months of 2009. Over half that amount was spent by pharmaceutical corporations. The Center also noted that contributions to lawmakers increased by 7% from the health care sector during the second quarter of 2009.
This is what President Obama said in April of 2008 during the campaign-
“Lobbyists spend millions of dollars to get their way. The status quo sets in. And instead of fighting for health care or jobs, Washington ends up fighting over the latest distraction of the week. It happens year after year after year.”
“We can be a party that says there’s no problem with taking money from Washington lobbyists — from oil lobbyists and drug lobbyists and insurance lobbyists. We can pretend that they represent real Americans and look the other way when they use their money and influence to stop us from reforming health care or investing in renewable energy for yet another four years.”
“Or this time, we can recognize that you can’t be the champion of working Americans if you’re funded by the lobbyists who drown out their voices. “
I wish that the Obama administration would have pushed for restrictions on lobbying before the health care reform process began. Maybe the result would have been an honest debate of the concerns of real citizens.