By Richard Schmitt
With Congress in session again the pressure is on to complete the health care overhaul bill. As we come into the home stretch, the lobbyists will be out in full force once more. Here is what some of the largest lobbyists spent before Christmas 2009: the big drug manufacturers – $6.2 million dollars; the American Medical Association – $4 million; different insurance companies spent $1 or $2 million each. The total is unclear, but it apparently set a record for health care lobbying. Some estimates speak of lobbyists spending $1.4 million per day. Just think of how much health care that sort of money could buy.
The outcome is predictable: there are some winners and some losers. On the whole, the people who spend money lobbying are the winners and the rest of us who don’t have money to lobby are bound to be the losers. Private insurance companies will continue to make money off all of us; the big pharmaceutical companies will continue to get bigger and fatter; the poor, the working people, and the middle class will continue to pay too much for often not adequate care. Continue reading Interest group politics, justice and democracy