The Senate Finance Committee will be voting on Sen. Max Baucus‘ health reform bill tomorrow and the healthcare lobby has been doing its job overtime the past few weeks. This makes the healthcare research we’ve done all the more pertinent, which Moyers and Winship recognized.
Here’s an excerpt:
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard in the old Washington shell game. Lobbyist out, lobbyist in. It’s why they always win. They’ve been plowing this ground for years, but with the broad legislative agenda of the Obama White House — healthcare, energy, financial reform, the Employee Free Choice Act and more — the soil has never been so fertile.
The healthcare industry alone has six lobbyists for every member of Congress and more than 500 of them are former congressional staff members, according to the Public Accountability Initiative’s LittleSis database.
Just to be certain Congress sticks with the program, the industry has been showering megabucks all over Capitol Hill. From the beginning, they wanted to make sure that whatever bill comes out of the Finance Committee puts for-profit insurance companies first — by forcing the uninsured to buy medical policies from them. Money not only talks, it writes the prescriptions.
Moyers and Winship label the crossover of these former Hill employees a “friendly takeover of government, a leveraged buyout of democracy.” In light of the healthcare debate, we thank the authors for highlighting this standard Washington practice that shouldn’t be so standard.