Sickening Amounts of Healthcare Lobbying

The healthcare industry is waging a "record-breaking influence campaign," spending "more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying," reports the Washington Post. "The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) doubled its spending to nearly $7 million in the first quarter of 2009, followed by Pfizer, with more than $6 million" spent in just three months. Among the lobbyists are many former Congressional staffers and even former members of Congress, including Dick Armey and Richard Gephardt. The impact is illustrated by a recent meeting in the office of Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, which "included two former Baucus chiefs of staff: David Castagnetti, whose clients include PhRMA and America's Health Insurance Plans, and Jeffrey A. Forbes, who represents PhRMA, Amgen, Genentech, Merck and others." The Post "identified more than 350 former government aides, each representing an average of four firms or trade groups." PhRMA leads "the pack in spending and employs 49 former government staff members among its 136 lobbyists." Many of the major lobbyists "remain opposed to the public-insurance option" supported by the Obama administration. PhRMA's head, former Congressman Billy Tauzin, finds the Congress-drug industry revolving door "pretty normal." He asked, "Is it a distortion of baseball to hire coaches who have played baseball?"


Jon Borer of Rodman & Renshaw is the registered owner of health misinformation site, another Betsy McCaughey site. R&R Capital is Bill Clark's investment group that deals in biotech & pharma. They're currently spreading email rumors scaring seniors with the heading "Your Days Are Numbered - You Have No Future" about the current health care bill rationing care for seniors and/or espousing euthanasia. Sample from a recent email referencing the site: "On page 425 it says in black and white that EVERYONE on Social Security, (will include all Senior Citizens and SSI people) will go to MANDATORY counseling every 5 years to learn and to choose from ways to end your suffering (and your life). Health care will be denied based on age. "

Seems like Obama administration is helpful for big raise in health department.

What worries me is that these lobyists and reformers don't get to the obviously messed up policies for both doctors and hospitals. Basically, lawyers are dictating the status quo and making everything complicated and ballistic.
I blog about this soon on get into medical school.



One of the most beneficial laws for health care consumers, the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act was included as part of ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), and not the health care reform bill. It provides $19 Billion in incentives for healthcare providers to switch from paper based to electronic health records. Clinics and hospitals are integrating patient portals into their websites which will provide patients with on demand access to their health care information from any computer (or phone). This is an important step in transforming the health care system to a more patient centered care approach.