Monday, July 6, 2009

$1.4 million per day fighting health care reform

The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records. The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one former insider on their lobbying payrolls, according to The Washington Post's analysis.
And that's the problem right there. Our Congresspigs need us for elections, but then they discard us like a used tissue. We can't ante up like the big boys, the lobbyists.

The health care industry is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying. And most of the lobbyists are barely-former politicians and political aides. Overall, health-care companies and their representatives spent more than $126 million on lobbying in the first quarter, leading all other industries, according to CRP and Senate data.

Didja get that - $126 million in the first quarter? This is why, when those drug companies and health insurers vow to help cut costs, we have a hard time believing them! This is also why every discussion about health care must include a discussion of campaign finance reform. It looks like I'm in good company with the folks at Change Congress:
Here at Change Congress, we believe that politicians should work for the people, not special interests. But it’s not enough to push politicians to stay out of the system of corruption—we have to reform the system itself. That’s why we support a hybrid of small-dollar donations and public financing, to keep big money out of politics.
I would like to see this administration completely upend the lobbying industry. The Supremes decided (wrongly, in my opinion) that imposing restrictions on lobbyists infringed on their freedom of speech. The result is an engorged, constipated Congress that has abandoned the business of The People, focusing instead on its next meal. Now that we see what a dark, dirty place that path leads to, I think it's time to revisit that decision.

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