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Millions spent by lobby firms fighting Obama health reforms

Source The Guardian
America’s healthcare industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block the introduction of public medical insurance and stall other reforms promised by Barack Obama. The campaign against the president has been waged in part through substantial donations to key politicians.

Supporters of radical reform of healthcare say legislation emerging from the US Senate reflects the financial power of vested interests ‑ principally insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals ‑ that have worked to stop far-reaching changes threatening their profits.

The industry and interest groups have spent $380m (£238m) in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress. The largest contribution, totalling close to $1.5m, has gone to the chairman of the senate committee drafting the new law.

“It’s a total victory for the health insurance industry,” said Dr Steffie Woolhander, a GP, professor of medicine at Harvard University and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Programme (PNHP).

“What the bill has done is use the coercive power of the state to force people to hand their money over to a private entity which is the private insurance industry. That is not what people were promised.”

Robert Reich, the labour secretary in the Clinton administration, says the Obama White House, mindful of how the health industry killed off Clinton’s attempts at reform, has grown so fearful of industry money that it has quietly reached agreement to pull back from price caps and public health insurance.

Read the the full article.

3 comments to Millions spent by lobby firms fighting Obama health reforms

  • karl

    There’s many angles and strategies to consider regarding health care insurance cost reform. I’m concerned about the economic necessity to reform health care cost. The demographic of uninsured and under insured is growing at a rapid pace. When medical bill(s) can’t/won’t be paid that cost is shifted to the paying pool/TAX payers essentially a hidden TAX. in ten years from 1999 to 2009 health care insurance for an average family of four has gone from approximately $5,850.00 to over $12,450.00.
    The cost of health care insurance will double in cost again in less than ten years. Consequently the collateral damage is affecting everyone. Over 60% of bankruptcies have/are associated with medical bill(s). Over 80% of those people in bankruptcies have health care insurance.
    This for-profit model is NOT sustainable. Wages are stagnant taking away the buyer power of the consumer. This country is unable to compete in the global economy and this leads to more/ongoing “outsourcing”.
    There are people/special interests that don’t want change to the current health care insurance industry because of the record profit and because reform may interfere with financial/investment portfolios in CHiNA. This country would become more competitive with health care reform.
    We need a large/competitive paying pool. The health care insurance industry is able to avoid/rid competition therefore they are able to raise prices. The notion that the “free market” exist in health care insurance is wrong. This needs to change or we will see more economic downturn.

  • I think they have the cart in front of the horse.

    We need to hold a plebicite, so that the average citizen gets to put their money where their mouth is. Once the public has said yea or ney, then the politicians can start to craft a system.

    The only way this will work cost-effectively is to remove the profit motive from the equasion. Hire doctors and techs at a fixed wage, rather than developing another fee-for-service system that is in competition with standard insurance. Then provide local clinica and hospitals to provide the services. There are plenty of them going out of business (so they claim) so buy them up for pennies on the dollar, and start providing the care people need.

  • Republicans, who will hold a majority in next year’s House of Representatives, should aim to hobble the healthcare law by denying funds for implementation of the measure.

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