During his radio broadcast today,President Barack Obama went after his favorite target today, he bashed those “special interests” that profit from the U.S. health-care system are spreading misinformation about plans to overhaul medical insurance practices. He said those special interests were “ridiculous rumors,” (thank God he didn’t say stupid). “Every time we come close to passing health-insurance reform, the special interests with a stake in the status quo use their influence and political allies to scare and mislead the American people.Those who would stand in the way of reform will say almost anything to scare you about the cost of action.”
Demonizing the special interests is just another Obama hypocrisy, because it is those special interests that are helping to write the Obamacare bill.
Bloomberg is reporting that there are 3,300 lobbyists working with congress on the Obamacare bill. That comes out to six lobbyists for every man, woman and child in congress, (about one for every ten Obama Czars) and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense.
These groups spent $263.4 million on lobbying during the first six months of 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group, more than any other industry. They spent $241.4 million during the same period of 2008. Drugmakers alone spent $134.5 million, 64 percent more than the next biggest spenders, oil and gas companies.
“Whenever you have a big piece of legislation like this, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for K Street,” said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based watchdog group, referring to the street in the capital where many lobbying firms have offices.
…Health-care lobbyists said their efforts are the biggest since the successful 1986 effort to overhaul the tax code. The result is a debate involving thousands of disparate voices, forcing Congress to pick winners and losers. “There’s a lot of money at stake and there are a lot of special interests who don’t want their ox gored,” Allison said.
The lobbyists are there not only to get what they want in the bill, but to make sure the bill doesn’t include what they don’t want.
For lobbyists, the goal is to ensure that whatever measure eventually becomes law doesn’t cripple the industry they represent.
“They assume health-care reform is going to happen and they want to be protected,” said John Jonas, a partner with the lobbying firm of Patton Boggs LLP in Washington.
Patton Boggs, the top lobbying firm in terms of revenue, has three dozen clients in the health-care debate, including New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Bentonville, Arkansas- based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., more than any other lobbying firm….
The lobbyists fill the appointment books of lawmakers, and line up at House and Senate office buildings. The staff of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, rotates weekly meetings among the various groups in the health-care debate, providers one week, purchasers a second, consumers a third.
“We hear from lobbyists all the time,” said Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat who heads the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee.
The blitz by lobbyists carries a risk for the public, said Larry McNeely, a health-care advocate with the Boston-based U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
“The sheer quantity of money that’s sloshed around Washington is drowning out the voices of citizens and the groups that speak up for them,” said McNeely, whose group backs a public health plan, which Obama and many Democrats consider a centerpiece of any proposal and most Republicans oppose.
That is the worst part of it all is that many of the same representatives who spend much of their day meeting with lobbyists about the health care legislation and include their suggestions in the bill, will not take the time to listen to their constituents and mold the bill into something the voters want.