UnitedHealth Presses its Employees to Oppose Public Option

The country's largest private health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, is urging its 75,000 employees to phone their senators and write letters-to-the-editor to protest the inclusion of a public health insurance option in health reform legislation.


Anniversary Sparks Renewed Efforts to Break Up the Banks

Thursday, November 12th marks the ten year anniversary of the repeal of the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that protected consumers from casino-style gambling on Wall Street and prevented significant financial crises for almost 60 years. As Congress took up a series of bills this fall to restore confidence in the financial sector, notably lacking were any bills to break up the big banks and restore Glass-Steagall protections.

Catholic Church Aggressively Influencing Health Care Reform Legislation

The Roman Catholic Church worked aggressively to get a last-minute amendment added to the newly-passed House health care reform bill that specifically prohibits abortion coverage in insurance plans that receive funding from the federal government.


Medicare Part D Planners Now Fighting Health Insurance Reform

At least 25 former federal officials and legislative aides who helped draft the 2003 Medicare Part D drug benefit are now working as lobbyists for pharmaceutical interests trying and protect the lucrative drug payment system in negotiations for health care reform.


U.S. Lobbyists Bypass the Financial Crisis

The global financial crisis has bypassed the U.S. lobbying industry. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that "the year-to-date total spent on lobbying now stands at $2.5 billion through the end of September, with that sum supporting 13,428 individual active lobbyists.


U.K. Government Backs Self-Regulation for Lobbyists

The U.K. government has rejected a parliamentary committee's recommendation for the mandatory registration of lobbyists and the disclosure of their meetings with civil servants. The Cabinet Office dismissed the recommendation claiming that this “would involve collating a huge amount of information and divert significant resources within departments”. Nor did the Cabinet Office support the establishment of a mandatory register of lobbyists.


Rick Scott Urges Anti-Health Care Front Groups to Coordinate Their Attacks

Multimillionaire former hospital CEO Rick Scott, founder of the anti-health care reform group Conservatives for Patients Rights, last week distributed a memo to allied groups fighting health insurance reform to try and coordinate the groups' opposition to the so-called "public option." In the memo, Scott wrote that health care


Armey's Anti-Poverty Campaign

Dick Armey, who was the Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives between 1995 to 2002, has been doing well for himself as the Chairman of FreedomWorks, a conservative lobby group. Meredith Simons reports that, according to the group's tax filings for 2008, Armey was paid $550,000. “I don't apologize for my paycheck. I'd like to think I'm worth it," he said.



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