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View Diary: I am so sick of this. (171 comments)

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  •  It's the insurance and pharma industries (3+ / 0-)

    doing the buying off.

    Special Interests to Listen Carefully to Obama's [SOTU] Address, February 24, 2009

    Health Care

    Last week Obama told the nation's governors to expect an injection of $15 billion from the stimulus package to fund Medicaid, a health care program for low-income citizens. The stimulus package also includes a subsidy for premiums under COBRA, an expensive plan that allows unemployed workers to keep their health insurance, in addition to nearly $20 billion to help the industry move to an electronic record-keeping system. Tonight the president is likely to emphasize the next steps he foresees in overhauling the health care system.

    In what appears to be a strategic move, the health sector has been shifting its campaign contributions toward Democrats. In the 2008 election cycle, an unprecedented 54 percent of the recently Republican-leaning sector's nearly $162.3 million in contributions went to Democrats. Compare that to the last presidential election, in 2004, when Republicans collected 61 percent of the $123.7 million that the health sector gave. Obama collected $18.7 million from the sector, compared to the $7.3 million that his opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain, got (McCain, however, accepted only public financing for the general election, while Obama continued to raise private funds).

    Obama has already signed a bill supported by health professionals that former President Bush vetoed: the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). After extending insurance to more children, Democrats in Congress are spearheading efforts to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured adults. Two influential lobbying groups, the American Medical Association, which represents doctors, and AARP, which advocates for retirees, supported SCHIP's expansion. AMA gave at least $1.7 million in federal campaign contributions in the 2008 election cycle (Obama received $19,650 from AMA employees, more than any other recipient). AARP does not operate a PAC, but its employees gave candidates, committees and parties $53,200, with Democrats receiving 90 percent of that.

    Insurance companies, represented by groups such as America's Health Insurance Plans, will be fighting any proposals that could take business away from the private sector. This includes any reform giving Americans the choice to opt into a government-run plan, which could become a reality under Obama's administration. The insurance industry gave at least $46 million in campaign contributions in the 2008 election cycle and gave the president $2.2 million. Pharmaceutical companies will also be on the defensive. Led by lobbying powerhouse PhRMA, the industry will try to fight off measures requiring drug companies to disclose all of their gifts and payments to doctors, and other legislation that would give the FDA the authority to ban direct-to-consumer advertising for new drugs. The drug industry gave at least $28.6 million in contributions in the last election cycle, with Obama collecting the most, at nearly $2 million for his presidential bid.

    Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 08:16:57 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Take two quid pro quos, and (4+ / 0-)

      call me in the morning.

      Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 08:19:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Single Payer is the only way to go (7+ / 0-)

        Has Canada Got the Cure?

        Publicly funded health care has its problems, as any Canadian or Briton knows. But like democracy, it's the best answer we've come up with so far.

        Should the United States implement a more inclusive, publicly funded health care system? That's a big debate throughout the country. But even as it rages, most Americans are unaware that the United States is the only country in the developed world that doesn't already have a fundamentally public--that is, tax-supported--health care system.

        That means that the United States has been the unwitting control subject in a 30-year, worldwide experiment comparing the merits of private versus public health care funding. For the people living in the United States, the results of this experiment with privately funded health care have been grim. The United States now has the most expensive health care system on earth and, despite remarkable technology, the general health of the U.S. population is lower than in most industrialized countries. Worse, Americans' mortality rates--both general and infant--are shockingly high.


        The United States spends far more per capita on health care than any comparable country. In fact, the gap is so enormous that a recent University of California, San Francisco, study estimates that the United States would save over $161 billion every year in paperwork alone if it switched to a singlepayer system like Canada's.3 These billions of dollars are not abstract amounts deducted from government budgets; they come directly out of the pockets of people who are sick.


        Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

        by Edger on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 08:30:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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