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.