Is Meaningful Health Care (Or Any Other Kind Of) Reform Possible?
By Brian Klepper
Those who wait, ever hopefully, for real health reform might want to take a deep breath and take stock of a few realities.
First, think about the fact that when the Democrats retook Congress, they tweaked but did not fundamentally change the lobbying rules that trade money for influence over policy. In fact, most contributors have now adjusted their contributions to favor the current, rather than the past, majority party. As it turns out, Democrats, like Republicans, are only too eager to allow special interests to trump the common interest, so long as the transactions fetch a good price.
Take a long hard look at the chart below, taken from an April 15th report published by OpenSecrets, which tracks the impacts money has on politics and policy, put together by the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2007, the health care industry spent $445 million lobbying Congress, providing 16 percent of the total $2.8 billion spent to sway Congressional actions, more than any other economic sector for two years running.