In his January State of the Union speech, President Obama woefully declared that "each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith." But by the following month, The Hill was reporting that "despite his push to rein in special interests, President Barack Obama sparked a boom on K Street." Lobbyists for the health care industry in particular were given an enormous boost in Washington as the health care bill rolled slowly through Congress and then moved on to the regulatory phase.
These days, though, much of the action on the health care front is moving to the states, which, thanks to the PPACA's network of state-based health insurance exchanges, are responsible for managing a significant amount of the law's implementation. And that means that the lobbying money is moving to the state level too. In Virginia, for example, health care companies are already spending more on lobbying than any other industry:
Lobbyists for managed health care were at the top of the list during this year's General Assembly session. That's the news from the latest batch of lobbyist reports for the period May 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010, at the secretary of the commonwealth office. The Virginia Association of Health Plans, Sentara Healthcare, the Medical Society of Virginia and the Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association and others together put together the largest tranche of lobby money to influence legislators.
Anyone else's faith fading fast?
Pick up a copy of the new issue of Reason's print edition to read my long feature on ObamaCare and the states.