Friday, August 14, 2009

Ringing K Street's Dinner Bell

Much as the current health care non-system could easily be created de novo to be better, the single best argument against a Washington-centric "reform" comes from the following report titled Six Lobbyists Per Lawmaker Work to Shape Health-Care Overhaul.

Here are some excerpts:

More than 1,500 organizations have health-care lobbyists, and about three more are signing up each day.

“Whenever you have a big piece of legislation like this, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for K Street,” (from a watchdog organization; 'K Street' in D. C. being home to numerous lobbyists' 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.

The last of these is the real rub. It may be what motivates much of the anger seen at town hall meetings. Now that the Fed and the Feds have proven that they are more interested in the health of the banking holding companies and highly prosperous job security for the same people who led the country to two burst bubbles in the past 10 years, who would think that the same Government officials are going to pick winners and losers with the interests of the public rather than the companies and trade organizations in mind? When pharmaceutical companies commit to spending a somewhat insane-sounding one hundred million plus fifty million dollars ($150 million) in advertising for healthcare reform in one concentrated burst, who can think their interest is really about "reform" rather than their responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profits?

Anyone who truly believes the answer is "reform" and not "profits" should remember that the two Toll brothers have taken hundreds of millions of cash out of Toll Brothers stock during this decade, while shareholders have received zero dollars in dividends and have, after all the volatility, an unchanged stock price.

The "system" continues to work to enrich the powerful and not the people. This includes the Presidential candidate who used that phrase in 2000, won the popular vote, and as a consolation prize made $100 Million, became the largest residential user of energy in his state of Tennessee, joined a venture capital firm poised to make zillions off of the growth of alternative energy and after leaving elective office continued flying around the country and the world in gas-guzzling private jets to spread the word that the rest of us need to conserve. In a world of "reformed" health care, does he doubt that he and members of his privileged class will receive the best possible health care, cost be damned?

Gandhis, all of them!

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2009

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