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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.