Corporate Power

The Special Interests Who Heart Obamacare


Do you have a friend or loved one or acquaintance who believes that the passage of health care reform represented a triumph of righteous people power over nefarious special interests? If so, make sure to have them read this Timothy P. Carney piece:

"Tonight," President Obama intoned near midnight Sunday, after the House had passed two health care bills, "we pushed back on the undue influence of special interests. … We proved that this government—a government of the people and by the people—still works for the people."

But even before the president spoke, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America—whose $26.1 million lobbying effort in 2009 was the most expensive by any industry lobby in history—hailed the health package as "important and historic."

The second-biggest industry lobby in America, the American Medical Association, also cheered, as did the American Hospital Association, the No. 5 industry lobby. Throw in the goliath senior lobby AARP and Beltway powerhouse General Electric, and you realize Obama's underdog tale is all bark and no bite. […]

Standing behind Obama at the bill signing Tuesday were Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the leading Senate and House recipients, respectively, of health-sector political action committee money in this election cycle. The 2008 champs of health PAC fundraising, Max Baucus and Charlie Rangel, were also on stage.

And the man with the pen in his hand had received more money from drug companies and health insurance companies than any politician in the history of the country.

We won't know for years whether Obama was right about the effects of this law. But we already know that Obama's story of how we got here—the people triumphing over the special interests—is a tall tale.

Whole thing here. Harry and Louise change their tune here. Carney on ReasonTV below:

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  1. the people triumphing over the special interests — is a tall tale

    It’s a lie, actually. We can say it. That word isn’t a hate crime. Yet. And forget about the pharmaceutical and various other medical lobbyists. Public “servants” are, or soon will be, the largest “special interest” group in the nation.

    1. Well, they’re the biggest lobbying groups in CA.

  2. The fact that these companies and organizations “hailed” the bill with boilerplate language means almost nothing. That’s the crap you say unless you really, really hate something. And the fact that the stocks rose the next day means less that nothing. Aside from the fact that short term stock movements cannot be used as any reliable indicator, in this case I know a lot of people that came in short, assuming a selloff after the bills passage. In fact the futures were down premarket. But shorts get covered and the market goes up.

    I am no Obama fan but this is a weak, weak criticism of this bill.

    1. It’s more a criticism of political hypocrisy and grandstanding.

    2. Yes, exactly. I know that PhaRMa’s member are split between quite happy and terrified. Happy if they are working on unmeet needs, terrified if they are doing follow-ons.

      And, what am I suppose to think, I just read Reason’s article saying the HCR bill would wipe out bio-medical innovation? Why would PhaRMa like it? I guess, only libertarian journalist can see PhaRMa’s interest clearly?

    3. It’s not just that they hailed the bill; they paid for it.


  4. Clearly this post is the rantings of a bitter-clinger racist!

    OsamaHusseinIslamObama 2012?
    (the terrorist-Uighur-ACORN-media choice)
    -It’s never too early to campaign-

  5. As a special interest (health care lawyer) that will definitely benefit from this bill . . . .

    I still hates it.

    1. You’ll learn to like it. Or else.

  6. Slave to the interests? Maybe we should get us a midget with a broom…

  7. Anytime I post something about how the bill is big payola to insurance corps on facebook or reddit or whatever, inevitably someone responds with “then how come the insurance companies spent millions lobbying against this bill?”

    Well, they didn’t, dumbnuts. They lobbied against the public option, which – ta da! – isn’t in this bill.

    1. No kidding – had this conversation w/some of my more-left-leaning totally-fucking-left-leaning friends yesterday.

      “Well, at least they’ll have to COMPETE for their profits now.”

      “Um, no….we just handed them 20-35 million (pick your gummint estimate) new customers who are mandated to purchase their services. Are you familiar with the term ‘rent seeking’???”

      [Literally, blank stares from my pals…Almanian head in hands, rubbing temples]

  8. Do you have a friend or loved one or acquaintance who believes that the passage of health care reform represented a triumph of righteous people power over nefarious special interests?

    Several. Sigh. And Carney’s piece won’t change their minds one bit.

    The only thing that will ever change their minds is if the great mass of the people in their social circles stopped echoing the same right-thinking pronouncements back at them.

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