"Twilight of The Interest Groups" or Sunrise For a Whole New Set of Payoffs?


The Washington Post's Ezra Klein muses on the difference between health care reform back in 1994, when "industry" was against it all and now, when it's smooth sailing on these fronts:

This year, the Obama administration succeeded at neutralizing every single industry. Pharma supports the bill. Insurers are incoherent on it, but there's not a ferocious and united campaign to kill the proposal. The American Medical Association has endorsed the Senate bill. The hospitals have endorsed the bill. Labor has endorsed the bill. The business community is split, with larger employers holding their fire.

Curiously, Klein sees this as the "twilight of the interest groups" even as he notes that "You can take that as a critique of the bill's deals and concessions."

Let's bet on the latter, especially given that the two biggest groups that might have been against it—big drug companies and insurance companies—either expressly got massive payouts built into the legislation or stand to ginormously increase their customer base via mandates and down-the-road sweeteners that will help the economy stay stuck in a diabetic coma. And unions of course got carve-outs for their particular needs re: "Cadillac" plans (unrelated: When will we all agree that Cadillac signifies nothing so much as a shitty, overpriced ripoff?). If this is being neutralized, then where do I sign up for my freebies?

Or as Glenn Greenwald puts it on his Twitter feed, "Forcing the Government to bribe and accommodate you don't mean you're powerless and in your 'twilight'- it's the opposite."